The Student News Site of Bridgewater-Raritan High School

The Prowler

The Student News Site of Bridgewater-Raritan High School

The Prowler

The Student News Site of Bridgewater-Raritan High School

The Prowler

High school gymnastics team placed fifth in state championship meet


The Bridgewater-Raritan High School gymnastics team was certainly excited about the opportunity to compete at the 2023 NJSIAA Team Tournament, which was contested on Wednesday, November 8, at Brick Memorial High School .

Not only were the Panthers one of only eight high schools (public or non-public) across the entire state to qualify for this event, Bridgewater-Raritan: the No. 6 ranked team in New Jersey, delivered a team score of 108.4 en route to a fifth-place finish.

“We are so proud of them,” said Bridgewater-Raritan coach Julie Zaneto after the meet. “I feel like they just kept on progressing throughout the year. They did better and better with each meet, which is exactly what you want. There’s so much with our team like the comradery and the support of each other. It’s endless.”

Competing for the Panthers in the state championships were seniors Keira Chang, Elle Kim, and Sanjana Thayi; junior Olivia Petronzi; sophomores Jasmine Chen and Lauren Yang; and freshmen Violette Cornfield, Alison Lardieri, and Sierra Marce.

Furthermore, unlike in regular-season meets, there were four judges scoring each of the four events: beam, floor, vault, and bars. Four gymnasts per school competed in each of these four eventss.

The highest and lowest scores from each set of four judges scoring an event were dropped, and the two remaining scores were averaged together to determine a gymnast’s event score. The top three out of four average scores for each school at each event were what ultimately counted towards a team’s score: a maximum of 30 points per event [obtained via three scores of ‘10’ at one event] and a maximum of 120 total points [obtained via three scores of ‘10’ at all four events].

As this factors in 12 total average scores per team: three for each of the meet’s four events, Bridgewater-Raritan’s’ fifth-place result of 108.4 was an impressive score of about 9.03 out of 10, on average, per gymnast at each event.

St. John Vianney High School of Holmdel: the No. 1 team in the state, rolled to a  state championship with a team score of 114.125: a full 3.6 points above runner-up and third-ranked  St. Thomas Aquinas High School of Edison, which earned a 110.525. No. 4 Hunterdon Central Regional High School finished in third place with a score of 109.25: the best amongst all of New Jersey’s public schools, as the Red Devils edged fourth-place and second-ranked Middletown High School South (108.775) by just under half of a point.

The Panthers’ result was 0.325 point above sixth-place and No. 5 Colts Neck High School (108.075), while Hillsborough High School and Mount Olive High School finished tied for seventh place with scores of 104.55 each.

To make it to Brick Memorial High School on top of this, the Panthers had to emerge from a stacked sectional Saturday in Edison the weekend before, but all four sections happening across the state.

Per NJSIAA Tournament regulations: “The top team [at each of the four (4) sectional meets] and the remaining four (4) teams with the highest team scores from all sectional results will advance to the State Championships.”

At the North Jersey Section 2 meet on Saturday, November 4, at St. Thomas Aquinas, Bridgewater-Raritan finished as runner-up to the host school, which earned a 111.45.However, Bridgewater-Raritan’s second-place score of 109.175 earned the Panthers the third offour ‘wild-card’ or ‘at-large’ spots that were up for grabs.

To further emphasize Bridgewater-Raritan’s growth throughout the 2023 season, after edging Hillsborough 106.15-106.00 to open the season, the Panthers actually finished third with a score of 107.825 at the Hillsborough High School Varsity Invitational on September 23, behind Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School  (108.125) and Hillsborough (108.975).

Three weeks later, however, the Panthers won their third consecutive Somerset County Championship, giving the Bridgewater-Raritan High School Class of 2024 a perfect three-for-three in county-title opportunities to go with a 15-3 record in dual meets in their four seasons. (There was no Somerset County Meet in the Fall 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

And on November 8t, the Panthers and their Class of 2024 seniors shined on the biggest of stages in their final meet competing together as a team.

“The seniors have been amazing,” concluded Zaneto. “We are going to miss them so much. They are like the core of the team and have led the team by example. I can’t say enough about them. They have the best attitude, they are so encouraging and supportive, and they are incredible.”

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