BEACON FALLS — The confidence level of two freshmen gymnasts from Woodland grew by leaps and bounds this year.
The Poynton twins — Stephanie and Kristin — recently completed their first high school varsity gymnastics season as a team of two representing the Hawks. The sisters, who designed their own uniforms to match the black and gold of Woodland, competed with the Pomperaug team under head coach Hal Rettstadt.
The Poynton girls have been doing gymnastics for close to ten years at the club competition level but this was their first year competing at the high school level. The sisters were looking forward to closing out the season at the state open, but needed to be ranked in the top 40 in order to compete.
“You need to have four or five girls to have a team that would be recognized by the CIAC to compete as a team at the class division tournament,” Rettstadt explained. “Because they compete individually they are only eligible to compete at the state open, but they need to be ranked in the top 40 in that event.”
Stephanie and Kristina received high marks throughout the season in all four categories — beam, vault, uneven bars and floor exercise — but needed to wait until the Class L, M and S competitions were completed in order to find out where they ranked in the state.
Kristina ended up in the 45th to 47th ranking in her categories, but still finished in the top 20 percent in the state.
“To finish in the top 20 percent in the state shows the hard work that I put into this season,” Kristina said. “Although I just missed out on competing at the state open I still went to cheer my sister on. We both had very good seasons and I will need to push a little harder next year so I can qualify.”
Stephanie represented Woodland at the state open Saturday at New Milford. She finished 13th in the vault with an 8.75, a little below her season best of 9.1, and placed 13th in the floor exercise, matching her season-high of 8.9 out of a field of 68 gymnast.
“I was pleased with where I ended up,” Stephanie said. “I thought I could have done better in the vault. My landing was a little awkward and I lost points there.
“Going up against the best in the state was very challenging. After this season I know what I need to work on to improve my skill level. But the experience was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to competing again next season.”
The Poynton sisters still plan to compete at the club level and have an eight-week gymnastic camp to look forward to this summer. But the first order of business for the sisters is to join the Woodland outdoor track team, and they are both excited about competing in track for the Black and Gold.