Poynton places 14th at New England championships

HUDSON, Mass. — On the biggest stage of her gymnastics career, Woodland’s Kristina Poynton reached a mark that had always eluded her.

Poynton set a career-best score in the vault with a 9.275, good enough for a 14th-place tie at the New England gymnastics championships March 9 at Hudson High.

Tara McGadden of Bedford (N.H.) High won the event, which featured 89 athletes, with a 9.575. Poynton’s finish was the sixth-best of all Connecticut gymnasts at the event, which exceeded her eighth-place performance at the State Open on March 6. As the 38th seed in that event, Poynton recorded a 9.1 on the same vault — a Tsuk, which involves a quarter-turn onto the horse followed by a backflip.

Poynton became the first Woodland gymnast to earn a berth into the New England championships and was one of only two Naugatuck Valley League athletes to qualify this season. It was the penultimate meet of her high school career, which will end in May with the National High School Gymnastics Association Senior Showcase Invitational.