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Week of Dec. 18: Centaurs fall in season-opening meet to Killingly

At the end of the meet, the two teams came together, both listening to their coach.

The same coach.

The Woodstock Academy and Killingly gymnastics team share the same gym, workout space and head coach in Kasey Tocchio.

But three times a year, if the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship meet is included, the two teams have to square off against one another.

Such was the case on Friday at Deary’s Gymnastics in Danielson.

“It’s interesting and I really didn’t know (who would win) with these two (teams) so I was excited to go and see what the (final scoresheet) said. Like I told both teams, it really comes down to beam and the little details especially competing against other teams. We need to clean it up a little,” Tocchio said.

In this case, it was Killingly that got the early jump on Woodstock Academy as it posted a 138.05-136.45 season-opening win.

The close result means the outcome could be different when the two teams meet again in early February.

“There is wiggle room both ways so, hopefully, we can make those little adjustments and shoot for close to 140. I think they could do really well,” Tocchio added.

Woodstock Academy junior Olivia Aleman, the defending Eastern Connecticut Conference individual champion, picked up where she left off.

Aleman finished with a 37.2 total to place first in the all-around competition.

She was one of the few not intimidated by that little strip of surface known as the balance beam as she was best of all the competitors with a 9.5.

“Beam was our last event and when it’s last, it all just builds up and since it is just four inches wide, it’s really hard to stay on. I was a little shaky and nervous but I’m happy,” Aleman said with a little relief about her performance.

She also placed first on bars (9.15), second on the floor (9.4) and third on vault (9.15).

“I haven’t done a ton of vaults because my back is still a little iffy and pounding on it hurts. But coming back into the gym, doing a lot more vaults and upgrading it, will help,” Aleman said.

Tocchio was pleased with the junior’s performance.

“She’s still watering down floor and bars, training for a bigger vault, so I think come midseason, she will be really raising those scores,” the Woodstock Academy and Killingly coach said.

Sophomore Julia Kerr had a good day with her floor routine, finishing third with a 9.35 total, and was also solid on the beam.

“Julia did a beautiful floor routine and had just a little fall on beam, she can look so beautiful on beam. Emma (Long) really stepped up for us on bars and floor (Friday) so that was really exciting,” Tocchio said.

Livia Gerum was second on the team in bars and third on beam while Angelina Auger was second in vault and third on bars.

“There is still some work to do,” Aleman agreed. “We need some confidence especially on beam. I think it helps when beam isn’t your last event. I think we just really need to work on fresh routines so that our confidence on beam builds up.”

The Centaurs will have some time to do so.

They don’t have another meet until Jan. 10 when they travel to the Connecticut shoreline to meet the East Lyme/Waterford/St. Bernard Co-Op.