BEACON FALLS — Woodland’s gymnastics team of two is putting up numbers that are getting the attention of officials and coaches throughout the state.
Freshmen and twin sisters Stephanie and Kristina Poynton, who make up the team, spoke candidly about their first venture into high school competition and qualifying for the state open after putting up solid scores in a quad meet Feb. 2 at Pomperaug High School.
“Competing at the high school level is really not that different than competing at the USAG,” Stephanie said. “The high school level is a lot more fun and maybe not as intense.”
Stephanie performed well last week with a second place all-around score of 33.70 against a field of 24 gymnasts. She scored a second-place 8.4 on the bars and had a pair of fourth-place finishes on the beam at 8.0 and the vault at 8.6.
“As the season goes along I have seen improvement in a few areas of my routines and some of my numbers are getting better,” Stephanie added. “I’m looking forward to the possibility of competing in the state open. That would show me where I am in the sport and what I need to improve on.”
Kristina had her high score of the meet with an 8.65 on the floor exercise. She also registered an 8.25 on the vault and finished sixth overall with an all-around score of 31.50.
“I have noticed that my tumbling is getting stronger on my floor routine,” Kristina said. “We do get a lot of work done preparing for high school competition. I think that is where I see improvement in some of my skills.”
The performance of the Poyntons, who designed their own uniforms that incorporate the Woodland school colors, is beginning to get noticed in the halls of the school, as well.
“Some of our teachers and friends at school talk about it, so it’s pretty cool to be representing the Woodland Hawks.” Stephanie said. “I wasn’t too nervous in my first ever high school competition because a lot of the girls you know from club competition.”
What is most impressive about the sport of gymnastics is the overall commitment that is involved. The Poynton sisters are the Pomperaug gym at 2:30 p.m. to help set up the equipment, some three and a half hours before the actual competition, and then stay as long as it takes to break down the equipment.
The final meet of the regular season is Tuesday. The Poynton sisters will need to rank in the top 40 to qualify for the state open, which is scheduled for March 5 in New Milford. The class L, M and S competitions are Feb. 27 at Pomperaug, but those are for team competitions. The Poynton girls will need to wait it out to see where they stand as far as the top 40 in the state goes.
“I’ve been doing well this season but I really want to be at my best for the state competition,” Kristina said. “I was a little anxious going into the season not knowing what to expect. But now I’m more relaxed and focusing more on improving my routines.”
Currently, Stephanie is ranked in the top 10 with season high scores of 9.1 on the vault, 8.9 on the beam and the floor with a 34.9 all-around score. She also has a top 20 score of 8.4 on the bars.
Kristina is ranked in the top 20 for floor at 8.75 and overall at 32.95 to go along with top 30 scores of 8.4 on the vault, 8.15 on the beam and 8.0 on the bars.
“There is a certain adjustment between high school and club gymnastics,” said Hal Rettstadt, who coaches the sisters and is the head coach of the Pomperaug gymnastics team. “They have to accommodate their routines to meet high school standards.
“They both have high expectations for themselves and they work hard at getting better and improving their skills. There are a lot of good gymnasts around and they will see that higher competition level if they make it to the state open.”