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Grizzlies field first gymnastics team

Before this winter, Goffstown High School gymnasts previously always competed as independents. In the first meet as a team, they earned a second-place finish at Londonderry on Dec. 17.

The team’s second meet, which was scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 27, at Pinkerton, was canceled due to snow. Now, the Grizzlies await their first-ever home meet on Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Goffstown YMCA.

“We’re very excited because this is the first team Goffstown High School has ever had,” head coach Meg Norklun said. “It’s going to be our first home meet ever, and it’s going to be a home meet actually for the Manchester schools because they work out here, too.”

Norklun said when the meet kicks off at 2 p.m., the Grizzlies will take the mats with a young, but talented team. Goffstown’s four independent gymnasts from last year all return, and to fill out the squad, they gained six newcomers.

Goffstown hosts Exeter, Hollis-Brookline, Wilton-Lyndeborough and Nashua North and South. Manchester Central, Memorial and West will also compete, but as co-hosts because they also use the Goffstown YMCA as their home floor.

Of last winter, Norklun said the independents competed well, but she and her team are enthusiastic about their inaugural season as a team.

“They held their own,” she said of last year’s four gymnasts. “They were like 25th and 27th, two of them, all-around at states, so they were pretty consistent.”

At Londonderry, in their first meet as a team, the Grizzlies took second and were led by one of the six new faces – freshman Hailey Gallagher. Other schools competing at the meet were Keene, Campbell, John Stark, Milford and Bishop Brady.

“Hailey Gallagher, who is a freshman, won the vault and got third all-around,” Norklun said. “It was our first meet of the season, so we have a lot of potential. The girls are very excited, and so am I, considering we’ve never had a team before.”

Gallagher’s 9.05 on the vault ended up being the score to beat. Liberty Gendron, a sophomore, also pitched in to the overall score with a second place on the beam.

To improve on their team score, Norklun said they need to get better scores in the floor exercise, which was their worst event at Londonderry. After their home opener, Goffstown’s next meet is a return trip to Londonderry to take on Manchester West, Memorial, Central, Campbell, Exeter, Bishop Guertin, and Alvirne.

“We’re very excited to have a team that has a lot of potential,” Norklun said. “The team is very young. We have only one senior, two juniors and the rest are sophomores and freshmen.”

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