Woodland gymnast back on right track

BEACON FALLS — After a two-year injury layoff, Woodland gymnast Kristina Poynton feels like she’s getting back on the right track.

“(The season has) been pretty good, but I still am working on getting some of my skills back after the two-year break I took from my injury,” said Poynton, who missed the last two seasons after suffering a fracture in her lower back.

Poynton, who competes for Woodland as a team of one through Pomperaug’s program, excelled as a freshman and continues to shake off the rust. While the physical aspect of perfecting her skills is enough of a challenge, Poynton also conceded there’s a hefty mental aspect to competing after so much time away from the sport.

“I think the hardest part is getting over the fear of getting injured again,” Poynton said. “I always find myself thinking too much about the skill or getting hurt while doing it, and it prevents me from being able to compete at my full potential.”

One area in which Poynton wants to improve is her consistency. While she’s had strong moments on her best apparatuses — high scores of an 8.6 on the balance beam and an 8.4 on the vault — she admitted that her average scores still have some room to improve before they meet her expectations.

“They’ve been a little low for me, but they are increasing each meet,” Poynton said.

Championship season is right around the corner for Poynton. The South-West Conference championships are set for Feb. 7, followed by the State Open on March 2. An average of Poynton’s second- through fifth-best scores on each apparatus must be among the top 40 athletes for her to qualify for each event at the State Open.

Poynton narrowly missed out on qualifying as a freshman, but she hopes to turn that around this winter.

“I’m hoping to make it to the State Open and then senior nationals,” Poynton said. “I’m going to work on adding more difficult skills into my routines and work harder than I’ve ever worked to make it.”