MILFORD — If there ever was a dynasty in the Southern Connecticut Conference, this is it.
Hand captured its 10th consecutive SCC girls’ gymnastics championship and 21st in 23 years Friday night, edging out Mercy, 133.4-131.25, at Jonathan Law High School. The only two years that Hand did not win the title came in 2007 and 2008 when Law and Foran, respectively, won the crown.
“We didn’t dominate today,” Hand coach Kelly Smith said. “We had to give it our all as we weren’t sure it was going to be in the cards this year. We lost a lot of seniors, but we had some girls step up into their roles and we’re proud of them.”
The key for Hand was its depth. The Tigers had two gymnasts finish in the top six in the All-Around, which helped them get over the top.
“Having four kids in the all-around that we can count on helps,” Smith said. “That’s where we showed our depth.”
Hand’s Erin Naclerio won the All-Around title for the second consecutive year, edging Bri Laggis of Foran by half a point. Naclerio won two of the four events, taking the balance beam and vault. Laggis took both the floor exercise and uneven bars. Mia Lawrence of Mercy was third in the all-around, while Grace Rogers of Hand took fourth place.
“We knew Mercy was strong and we worked on things trying to perfect everything,” Naclerio said. “I guess the individual accolades just came with it.”
Smith said Naclerio had been working very hard in her senior season.
“She’s a great gymnast,” Smith said. “She had a really good meet and gets up there and does what she does. She’s a great gymnast.”
Mercy finished in runnerup position for the second consecutive year.
“I’m a little disappointed we couldn’t catch them,” Mercy coach Monica Bauer said. “I’m totally happy with second place.”
The Tigers started off a little shaky on the first two rotations, but got back on track.
“We had a couple falls on bars and three on beam,” Bauer said. “But we were able to pull it back together on vault and floor.”
Foran took third place with 124.55 points, while host Law was fourth with 122.65 and Hamden fifth at 111.6.
The All-SCC team was named after the meet. Naclerio, Rogers, Lexi Theel and Schylar Saliba of Hand were joined by Lawrence, Cecilia Vess and Quincy Platt of Mercy, Laggis, Sara Rodia of Shelton, Brooke Kustra of Branford, Cassidy Davis and Catherine Burns of Law.