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Wednesday, March 22, 2023
ArlingtonWakefield High gymnast state bound

Wakefield High gymnast state bound

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A year later, Gabby Watts will have her opportunity to participate in the girls state gymnastics meet.

The Wakefield Warriors gymnast qualified for the Virginia High School League Class 6 competition by winning the balance beam with a 9.583 score at the 6D North Region championships.

Her winning mark was more than a point and a half better than the second-place finisher, which is a lot in gymnastics.

The region meet was held at Washington-Liberty High School.


“Gabby had a really great beam routine. She really hit it,” said Washington-Liberty coach Joe D’Emidio, who has helped coach Watts and the Wakefield team at times over the years.

Watts and some other individual gymnasts who qualified were not allowed to participate in last season’s state meet when Arlington County Schools initially did not permit the gymnasts to attend the competition because of COVID. When that decision was reversed, the individuals could not compete because they already had been replaced by alternates.

In addition to winning the region beam title this season, Watts was fifth in the all-around scoring with a 35.508 mark. She was ninth on the uneven bars (8.375) and floor exercise (9.025) and 18th on the vault (8.525).

Also in the meet from Wakefield was Elizabeth Haley (ninth on the vault 8.875) and Sofie Vazquez.

In the team scoring, the three-time defending champion Washington-Liberty Generals finished fifth, with three of its top gymnasts missing the competition for various reasons. No W-L gymnasts qualified for the state meet, ending a long running streak of team members doing just that.

The Generals’ score was 136.25. South Lakes won with a 139.741 total.

“It’s a funny feeling that we will not being going to states with anyone,” D’Emidio said. “But you can’t always go every year. That happens sometimes.”

The Generals’ top scorer in the region meet was Grace Chen. The senior finished fifth on both the floor (9.175) and uneven bars (8.7) in her final competition. Chen will not participate in gymnastics in college.

Chen finished second in the region all-around the past two seasons. She won previous Liberty District meet all-around titles.

“She had a wonderful career here at W-L,” D’Emidio said.

Washington-Liberty’s Ella Bomberger tied for seventh on the beam (8.583).

Others participating in the meet for W-L were Devin Nemirow, Mara Gerardi, Charlotte Denis, Abby Hogan, Alexa Brooke and Alanda Johnson. Gerardi’s best finish was 10th on the bars (8.35), with Johnson 12th on that routine (8.225). Gerardi was 13th on the floor (8.9).

“It was a good meet. The team scores among the six teams were grouped pretty close,” D’Emidio said.

Competing in the meet for the Yorktown Patriots were Jillian Burpee, Juliane Hunger, Nattie Good and Cady Anderson Garbow. Burpee placed 12th on the beam (8.467) and 20th on the floor (8.6). Hunger was 20th on the beam (7.133). Anderson Garbow was 17th on the bars (7.725).

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