Eyes on the Prize!

Saratoga Gymnastics Keeps Rolling Towards 19th Consecutive Section 2 Title

Photos provided by Assistant Coach Tiffany Hogben

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Now, under normal circumstances, when a team is facing an undefeated opponent, and that opponent sets a school team record for points in a match, you can pretty much figure what the outcome would be.

But these are hardly normal circumstances.

These are the Saratoga Gymnastics squad members – upholding a tradition of excellence. Winners of eighteen consecutive Section 2 titles, they accepted the challenge of an opponent’s school record as motivation to achieve greater heights.

And so it came to be last Monday, January 20th, as Saratoga (now 5-0) outpointed previously undefeated Bethlehem, 170.75 – 166.35, at the Wilton YMCA. Despite Bethlehem establishing a school point record for a match, the Blue Streaks secured 3 of the top 4 all-around spots led by Sophia Damiano (1st all-around; 36.55), followed by Ava Dallas (2nd all-around; 36.10) and Carly Ruschak (4th all-around; 33.85).  Bethlehem’s top all-around performer was Alison Gray (3rd all-around; 34.25). 

Saratoga gymnasts captured the top spot in each of the four individual events with Ava Dallas winning the bars (9.10), the beam (9.15), and the floor (9.10).  Sophia Damiano captured the vault (9.25).

Dallas Breaks Saratoga Gymnastics Beam Record

This season has been a record-setter as well for Junior Ava Dallas. Against Guilderland on Thursday, January 16, she scored a 9.6 on beam, breaking the school record of 9.575 set by Kaitlin Dewey in 2005.  In addition to winning the beam, Dallas also placed first on the floor (9.2), the bars (9.35) and the all-around (37.15) in leading Saratoga to a over Guilderland 170.85 – 163.25.

Ava Dallas. Photo provided

What made this record setting all the more remarkable was Ava overcoming some significant injury. “My beam routine is really starting to come together as I add back in some of my higher level skills,” commented Dallas.  “Honestly, I’m just happy to be able to compete after being sidelined for a few weeks at the beginning of the season with a stress fracture in my back.  The doctor suggested that I shut it down for the season but this sport and this team mean too much to me to miss my junior year.” 

Dallas was able to modify her routines and eliminate skills that caused her discomfort.  “My back won’t be fully healed for several more months,” she said, “but right now everything feels good and I’m looking forward to Sectionals and States.”


Before those events happen, there are two more opportunities to see this squad continue its tradition of excellence, on their home turf at the Wilton YMCA. The first is tonight, as the Blue Streaks hold their annual “Purple Passion” fundraising match, with donations going to domestic violence prevention. Here’s their complete upcoming schedule. They deserve your support!

Friday, Jan. 24 Purple Passion Meet – 6:00 pm Wilton YMCA
Thursday, Jan. 30 @ Bethlehem – 6:00 pm Bethlehem High School
Wednesday, Feb. 5 All Around Meet – 4:30 pm Wilton YMCA
Wednesday, Feb. 12 Sectionals – 4:30 pm Shaker High School
Saturday, Feb. 29 States @ Cold Spring Harbor HS – 10:00 am

After all, it’s not every day you get a chance to watch a legend in the making!

Arthur Gonick – January 24, 2020 

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