Woodland gymnasts set sights on states

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Woodland gymnast Stephanie Poynton competes on the balancing beam during a recent meet. –CONTRIBUTED

BEACON FALLS — Woodland’s tumbling twins, Stephanie and Kristina Poynton, have their sights set on qualifying for the state open come the end of their second high school gymnastic season.

The CIAC rules state gymnastic teams must have four to five gymnasts in order to qualify for the class division tournaments, but individuals can qualify for the state open if they end up ranked in the top 40 in their event. The Poyntons compete as a team of one for Woodland.

The twins made their mark last season as freshmen. Stephanie qualified for the state open and finished 13th in the vault and 13th in the floor exercise.

Kristina fell just short making states as she finished just outside the top 40 rankings. She wound up ranked 45th in the vault and 47th in the floor exercise.

The sisters also compete at the club level with USA gymnastics, and both girls have already qualified for the USAG state championships to be held at the end of March.

The high school season is into its second week and moving up the rankings on a weekly basis is the goal for the Poynton twins.

For Kristina, that weekly board watching may be over before it starts due to injury.

“I have been out of competition for about a month,” Kristina said. “I had some back issues last season and it’s still bothering me so I’ve had some time to try and get it to heal.

“I should be back by the end of January, but I’m not sure if there will be enough time left because you need four of five meets to qualify for states and be ranked in the top 40. But even if that’s the case I will work on perfecting my vault, which I worked on during the summer hoping to move up in the rankings. I will use the last few weeks of the season to get ready for the USAG championships.”

Stephanie also used the offseason from high school to work on some added skills with the hopes of breaking into the top ten in the state.

“I have been working on perfecting some of my skills,” Stephanie said. “I really like the dance part of gymnastics so I have been focusing on my floor exercise routine. I would really like to break into the top ten this year. I have also been working hard to get my scores up in the beam.”

In the first meet of the season Jan. 16 at Fairfield Ludlowe, Stephanie landed scores of 8.7 on the beam, 8.05 on the bars, 8.5 on the vault and 8.85 on the floor exercise with an overall score of 34.100.

In her second meet, Jan. 19 at New Milford the Woodland sophomore made significant improvement. She scored 9.0 in both the vault and the beam, an 8.9 in the floor exercise and an 8.2 on the bars.

“I was real happy with my performance in the meet at New Milford, but I did sprain my ankle so I need to be off it for about a week,” Stephanie said. “I have seen a big difference in my scores and performance from last year to this year, and I’m looking forward to competing in the states again.”