After its first loss of the season, the Southern Regional gymnastics team bounced back with a win at home during Senior Night versus Barnegat on Oct. 16.
Southern Regional (9-1) upended Barnegat, 102.52-86.95 in Manahawkin, behind a wide array of solid performances, highlighted by senior co-captain Autumn Shackleton taking home the all-around with a 33.475.
The top two performers in each category included Shackleton teaming up with freshman Maria Mezzo on the uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise, and senior Sarah Possidel and junior co-captain Gabriella Conforti teaming up on the vault en route to the Barnegat win.
The win came after Southern’s first loss of the season four days earlier at Jackson Memorial, 105.05-103.8, to snap an eight-meet win streak.
“We were able to put our seniors in our varsity line-up. Shelby Bair vaulted, Noelle Englebert did vault and beam, Sarah (Possidel) did vault, bars and beam, and Autumn (Shackleton) competed in the all-around. It was their senior night and it was great for them to earn the win,” said Southern Regional head coach Judy Miller. “This team has shown they are able to perform under pressure. The leadership from Autumn, Gabriella and all the seniors has pushed this team to success. Our freshmen have been key with their performances. They have brought a high level of gymnastics to our team and the team members challenge each other and want our team to be the best it can possibly be.”
Several Southern Regional gymnasts that have qualified for the upcoming Shore Conference Tournament (Oct. 28 at Brick Memorial) and State Sectionals (Nov. 4 State Sectionals at Seneca, Nov. 11 State Finals at Montgomery): Gabriella Conforti (All-Around), Hailey Klimas (All-Around), Maria Mezzo (All-Around), Autumn Shackleton (All-Around), Ali English (Beam and Floor Exercise; injured, may be back for post-season), Abigail Scheider (Floor Exercise), Gianna Antinora (Vault, Floor Exercise) and Sarah Possidel (Vault).
“I started coaching at Southern in 1987 but I took time off — about 14 years I would say — after I had two children,” said Miller. “All together, I think I have coached about 15 years and I have never had so many athletes qualify for the post season. It has been a very exciting year for us. This has been a total team effort. These girls have been supportive of each other. There is a great mix of upper classmen that have been great leaders along with younger athletes that have adapted to this program flawlessly. They are all about team! They have been a pleasure to work with.”
Prior to the post season, Southern had two regular season meets (Oct. 20 vs. Toms River North and Oct. 23 at Brick Memorial).