Team effort led Law gymnasts to league title

Jonathan Law gymnasts gather together with the banner designating coach Pat Simon's Lady Lawmen as 2020 Southern Connecticut Conference champions.

Jonathan Law gymnasts gather together with the banner designating coach Pat Simon's Lady Lawmen as 2020 Southern Connecticut Conference champions.

John Vanacore / Hearst Connecticut Media

Teams sat in circles on the mat waiting for the judges scores to be compiled and the Southern Connecticut Conference gymnastics champion to be announced.

When defending champion Mercy was named as runners-up, the Jonathan Law gymnasts rose to their feet as one. The Lady Lawmen would be hoisting the championship banner for the first time since the 2007 season.

Law’s performance on the balance beam proved to be the difference when it defeated Mercy, 126.60 to 126.40. Daniel Hand (123.15) was third overall, followed by Foran (114.650) and Hamden (107.50).

The Lady Lawmen posted a score of 32.30 to the Tigers’ 29.80 on the beam.

“I was impressed,” Simon said when the score was announced. “Our girls did awesome. On beam we had no falls. The girls would come back together and say, another great event (as a group). They went out and had a great time. We knew it would be close, we didn’t know how close, so we just went (out) and had fun.”

Catherine Burns and Emma Nelly barely had time to rejoin teammates before they were headed back to the podium. Each made five trips to salute the crowd.

Burns was second all-around (34.0) after placing first on beam (8.9), second on vault (9.0), third on bars (8.0) and being tied for fifth on floor exercise (8.1).

“We were expecting a close race, but we didn’t know until the end how it was going to turn out for us,” said Burns, a junior. “We have a lot of girls with a lot of capabilities. Everyone really motivates each other to do their best.”

Nelly tied for third all-around 32.8. She was second on beam (8.4), third on floor exercise (8.4), fourth on bars (7.7) and tied for fifth on vault (8.3).

A sophomore, Nelly said: “We knew that we had a shot. The fact that we did means a lot to me and to this whole team.”

Simon credited his squad for their effort.

“On the beam, we were perfect,” he said. “Catherine and Emma and then Mackenzie Powers (7.7) and Amanda Dew (7.3). “Mackenzie is a sophomore. She fell warming up on beam. She smiled and told me not to worry. Then went out when it counted and didn’t make a mistake.

“Kylee Troy, Ali Gordon, Lily Baldieri and Bella Piccirillo are our seniors. Each does something to make us better as a team.”

Powers was third for Law on the vault (8.2) and Troy fourth (8.1). Gordon was third for the team on bars (7.1) and Powers fourth (6.8). Emma Ryan and Gordon each scored a 7.3 on floor exercise.

Melanie Coleman Award

The naming of the Most Outstanding Gymnast Award as a lasting memorial to Melanie Coleman added to the luster of the moment for Law. A three-time All-Stater and 2017 Law graduate, Coleman passed away this past fall. Her impact carried further than the mats in the James Richetelli Sr. Gymnasium.

Two-time MVP Mia Lawrence from Mercy High was inspired by Coleman.

“Melanie, I met her freshman year,” said Lawrence, who won three events and took all-around honors by a full point. “She was an amazing gymnast and I looked up to her since then. I’m honored to win this award, I really am. It means so much to me. She was a great leader for all of us.”


The All-SCC team had solid representation from each team. Law placed Catherine Burns, Emma Nelly and Ali Gordon, while Mercy’s Charlene Weaver, Emma Pfau and Ella Bankowski joined Mia Lawrence. Hand’s Carly-Anna Barba, Morgan McMahon, Kayla Castaldo were named, along with Foran’s Ginger Schmidt and Emma Jerue. Branford’s Kustra, Hamden’s Alexis Sangiovanni, Guilford’s Ella Esposito and Amity’s Riley Palozzo tounded out the squad. Twitter: @blox354