WESTFIELD – The Westfield High School gymnastics team has done it again.
Westfield captured the gold medal in Friday’s sectional championship, besting the region’s other four teams for its eighth straight crown.
Westfield racked up 135.125 points against Minnechaug (132.650), Chicopee Comp (130.375), Agawam (127.650), and Hampshire (123.325) in a packed house at the Bombers’ home gymnasium.
Westfield completed yet another unbeaten season, improving to 141-0 over that span.
“I was very apprehensive at the beginning of the year,” said first-year head coach Beth Liquori, who replaced legendary head coach Joanne Hewins this past offseason. “We lost a lot of talent. I didn’t know if we could pull it off …
Even though we were undefeated in the regular season, it’s never a given at Western Mass. We pulled some things out of our hat.”
Westfield sophomore gymnast Elizabeth Walker pulled off a hat trick of sorts, placing in the top three in three events – floor exercise (8.85), balance beam (8.7), and vault (9.4), an event she won to help fuel the Bombers’ run.
Walker finished second in the All-Around with a 35.5. Agawam’s Alison Renaud won the individual competition (35.85). Renaud was first on the uneven bars (8.8) and floor exercise (9.25).
“Coming in, I was really nervous,” Walker said. “After the vault, my confidence went up.”
Walker landed a powerful, energetic Yurchenko layout on her second attempt, earning the judges’ top scores for the event.
“Liz nailed it,” coach Liquori said. “That brought our spirits up … Our group performed great.”
Westfield’s Kendall Neidig (33.25) and Mairead Hagan (32.725) finished fourth and eighth, respectively.
Minnechaug’s Tessa Lopez finished first on the balance beam with an 8.95.
WMASS D1 BOYS’ SOCCER QUARTERFINALS
No. 4 Pittsfield 1, No. 5 Westfield 0
Pitsfield (10-4-5) manufactured a goal shortly after a cornerkick in the second half, and goalie Harrison Rapant delivered a stellar shutout.
Rapant turned away shots from three yards away, a nice redirection of a ball, and a penalty kick to save the day for Pittsfield.
“I’m not sure how he did it, but he saved it,” Westfield coach Andrew Joseph said. “We absolutely had the better chance today, the majority of the possessions but their goalie stole it for them.”
“Our guys did absolutely everything we asked them to do,” he added. “(The Bombers) played their best game of the year. We just got stopped by a hot goalie.”
WMASS D4 BOYS’ SOCCER QUARTERFINALS
No. 2 Hopkins Academy 3, No. 7 Gateway 2
Hopkins Academy (13-3-3) raced out to a 3-0 first-half lead at home, and staved off a late comeback from Gateway. The Gators (9-6-3) scored a pair of goals in the second half, one each from Josh Baillargeon and Sam Beane.
Gators’ goalie Spencer Rock made five saves.
In other Division 4 tournament action, No. 4 Smith Academy (16-4) shut out fifth-seeded Westfield Voc-Tech (18-2-1), who completed an unbeaten regular season.
In Division 2, fourth-seeded Southwick (10-3-4) held off No. 5 Mounument Mountain, 1-0, to advance to the semifinals.
WMASS D4 GIRLS’ SOCCER QUARTERFINALS
No. 2 Gateway 2, No. 7 Smith Academy 0
Gateway (13-3-1) scored one goal in each half en route to a solid home victory in Friday night’s quarterfinal round. Smith Academy fell to 8-8-2.
Westfield 34, Northampton 6
Westfield senior back Cody Neidig ran 75 yards for a touchdown on his team’s first play from scrimmage, and the Bombers trampled the host Northampton Blue Devils Friday night.
It was interim head coach Robert Parent’s first victory, and the team’s second.
Westfield improved to 2-7.