NHIAA Gymnastics: Tommasi return sparks Salem to crown
Tommasi missed the season's first 12 weeks while recovering from a concussion and a battle with mononucleosis. She returned after the holiday break, but said she didn't feel at anywhere near full strength until earlier this month.
Tommasi seemed fine Saturday, when she helped Salem take first place at the NHIAA gymnastics championship at Salem High School. Tommasi finished third on bars (8.650), fourth on floor (9.125) and sixth in the all-around (34.675).
"I was out for a total of 12 weeks," Tommasi said. "It takes a while to get back in shape. The mono really drained me of all my strength. I couldn't do anything for a month.
"I was nervous coming in today, but I was satisfied with my performance. I just wanted to go in and have a good meet. As a team we really pulled through."
Salem earned 134.075 points to edge Bishop Guertin of Nashua (133.25). Pinkerton Academy of Derry, which was seeking a fourth consecutive state title, finished third (132.550). Salem finished second to Pinkerton last season.
The event featured 12 teams and 39 independent competitors.
Freshman Nina Whittaker formed the other half of Salem's one-two punch. Whittaker won the floor (9.400), finished second in the vault (9.225), fifth in the beam (8.700) and fifth in the bars (8.500).
"We did the best that we could and it was a great season," Whittaker said. "We're all good in different places and we all contribute."
Pinkerton's Kaylee Pacunas won the all-around (35.875). She placed second on bars (8.950), tied for third on beam (8.800), finished sixth in the floor (9.075) and tied for sixth in the vault (9.050). Pacunas took first in the all-around in all but one meet this season.
Salem, which lost to Pinkerton by six points during the regular season, completed its season with a 17-1 record.
"Nina and Kadie together are like the dynamic duo," first-year Salem coach Kyle Redmond said. "They're phenomenal.
"Nina's a Level 10 athlete out in Massachusetts and she has been a huge asset for us this year. She's been a great scorer. Very consistent.
"For Kadie to come back and hit as big as she's hit - she's been a superstar for us as well."
The state title was Salem's first since 2009.
"The girls worked hard for this and they should be really proud of themselves," Redmond said. "I feel like all our scores were pretty solid. We're we a little off on beam, but we step up where we can.
"We're happy - we're thrilled. It was a great end to a great season."
NHIAA Gymnastics Championship
1. Salem (134.075); 2. Bishop Guertin 133.250; 3. Pinkerton 132.550; 4. Londonderry 126.850; 5. Goffstown 125.875; 6. Keene 122.275.
Vault: 1. Caroline Nichols (Pinkerton) 9.350; 2. Nina Whittaker (Salem) 9.225; 3. Morgan Wallingford (Dover) 9.200; 4. Haile Gallagher (Goffstown) 9.125; 5. Lindsey Dutton (John Stark) 9.100 6T. Kaylee Pacunas (Pinkerton) 9.050; 6T. Kasey Bond (Bishop Guertin) 9.050.
Floor: 1. Nina Whittaker (Salem) 9.400; 2. Caroline Nichols (Bishop Guertin) 9.375; 3. Kasey Bond (Bishop Guertin) 9.150; 4. Kadianne Tommasi (Salem) 9.125; 5. Lindsey Dutton (John Stark) 9.100; 6. Kaylee Pacunas (Pinkerton) 9.075.
Beam: 1. Gia Quinn (John Stark) 9.125; 2. Julie Pease (Portsmouth Christian) 8.850; 3T. Kaylee Pacunas (Pinkerton) 8.800; 3T. Jaile Gallagher (Goffstown) 8.800; 4. Lindsey Dutton (John Stark) 8.775; 5. Nina Whittaker (Salem) 8.700; 6. Liberty Gendron (Goffstown) 8.650.
Bars: 1. Kasey Bond (Bishop Guertin) 9.100; 2. Kaylee Pacunas (Pinkerton) 8.950; 3. Kadianne Tommasi (Salem) 8.650; 4. Brianna Worcester (Keene) 8.600; 5. Nina Whittaker (Salem) 8.500; 6. Caroline Nichols (Bishop Guertin) 8.375.
All-around: 1. Kaylee Pacunas (Pinkerton) 35.875; 2. Kasey Bond (Bishop Guertin) 35.850; 3. Nina Whittaker (Salem) 35.825; 4. Caroline Nichols (Bishop Guertin) 35.725; 5. Haile Gallagher (Goffstown) 34.950; 6. Kadianne Tommasi (Salem) 34.675.