Green Wave gymnasts reign atop the SWC
Deep and talented, the New Milford High School gymnastics team is proud owner of the 2014 South-West Conference championship plaque.
Coach Bethany Mihaly's Green Wave athletes captured the league title Feb. 20 during competition at NMHS.
"It was hard won," said coach Mihaly, who has guided NMHS gymnastics fortunes for a quarter-century, "but I am proud of the girls."
Leading the way as she has the past couple of seasons was senior captain Alison Profeta.
The Green Wave standout earned first place individually in vaulting, on uneven bars and in floor exercise with respective scores of 9.0, 9.05 and 9.2.
A sub-par performance on the balance beam couldn't keep the NMHS athlete from claiming SWC all-around laurels with a 35.25 total.
For her efforts, Alison was honored as the SWC's MVP gymnast.
Davidson joined Profeta on the all-SWC team while Angela Lian and Grioli earned all-SWC second team.
Yet, as it had been throughout a 19-10-1 regular season, the Green Wave's hopes were bolstered by a strong pool of reserve talent.
And that doesn't even count sophomore Kalee Oelgoetz, who couldn't compete in the SWC tournament because of injury.
The squad was the biggest in NMHS gymastics' nearly 40-year history. That proved handy at times of injury, but coach Mihaly said it took some doing for the team to settle into a routine in the early season.
"The hard part of having so many girls on the team is that I can't be on everyone all the time," she reflected. "They really have to be self-motivated and work on their own a lot.
"Even with an assistant as awesome as Mary O'Connor, there's still only two of us and 23 of them spread out over four events, all clamoring for attention."
Still, coach Mihaly found her season with such a large team a satisfying experience, especially capped as it was by a league championship.
"At the beginning it was seriously like herding cats," she laughed, "but as the season went on and they learned what was expected of the team, it did get better."
The Green Wave competed March 1 in the Class M team competition at Pomperaug High School in Southbury.
The girls earned third place with 130.625 points, trailing only Daniel Hand of Madison (142.275) and Wilton (132.550) in an eight-team field.
Contributing to the NMHS cause were Alison Profeta, Angela Lian, Erica Davidson and Alyssa Grioli.
"As a whole, the season was very successful, in more ways than one," said coach Mihaly. "Not only did we have a respectable record, win SWCs and place third in states, but we were able to help Ali reach for things she wasn't sure she wanted anymore."
Alison will cap her Green Wave career Saturday, March 8 when NMHS plays host to the state open meet.
"I hope these are memories she will take to college and beyond," said the NMHS mentor. "She has been a positive for the program in that I can always look to her as a leader.
"We were also able to get a good solid core and some new life for next year so we are starting off at a better point," coach Mihaly concluded. "I was very proud of the way Erica Davidson has stepped up and grown so much, personally and gymnastically, since last year. I look to her for next year to really lead this team."
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