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Centaurs finish season with a 3rd-place finish in Class S

It has not been a typical gymnastics season for the Woodstock Academy girls.

But all is well that ends well.

Such was the case on Saturday.

The Centaurs revived some of their past magic and posted a third-place finish in the Class S state championship at Jonathan Law High School in Milford.

“The girls are beyond happy,” said Woodstock Academy coach Kasey Tocchio. “We just wanted to go and do as well as we could and we did that.”

The Centaurs finished with a 133.175 total which put them just behind first-place Daniel Hand of Madison (140.275) and Killingly (138.0).

The key for the Woodstock Academy resurgence was the return of Olivia Aleman.

The junior, who has not competed due to injury since the first meet of the season, had been working out at Deary’s Gymnastics in Danielson for the past week prior to the state championship.

“We’ve been adding things over time and she just did amazing. She just wanted to do this for her team and I’m so proud and happy that she was able to do it for herself,” Tocchio said.

Individual results only count toward the team score, there is no individual all-around medalist in the state championship competition but had there been, Aleman would have won it.

She finished first in the individual scores in the floor (9.525) and bars (9.425) competitions, was second in vault (9.2) and was fourth best in beam (8.850) after an uncharacteristic fall.

“Right back to Olivia standards,” Tocchio said with a laugh.

Allie Boyd finished with an 8.7 on the beam and an 8.350 in the floor competition; Livia Gerum had an 8.3 in vault and an 8.150 on beam and Emma Long added an 8.650 in vault.

“We had some amazing beam and floor performances, they just really held it together as a team,” Tocchio said. “Emma did a new vault so her score in that improved tremendously. Even before Olivia came back, this team has held its own. We beat Stonington twice before heading into this meet so we knew we could do it. The kids have stepped up enough and adding Olivia was just a bonus for everyone.”

The third-place finish did make up a bit for the fourth-place finish in the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship two weeks before which ended the Centaurs’ 13-year reign atop the conference.

“This group is beyond deserving of this. I was tickled to death for them. It was our hope to try and do that and to come back from ECC’s is something really special,”Tocchio said.

Aleman, who came into the season as the defending ECC champion, was still not ready to compete when the league championship was held two weeks before.

“I think this was so good for her to get out there and have one last hurrah. She can’t compete in the State Open because she doesn’t have enough scores this season. I think she needed this for herself and I can not wait for her senior year,” Tocchio said.

The state championship meet was also the final competition for the team, as a whole, as it did not qualify for the State Open.

Gerum will compete as an individual in the beam and vault competitions.

But there is plenty of hope for the future.

“Everybody is coming back and we know we have two freshmen coming in too. I’m hoping it will be a very good, productive year,” Tocchio said.