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Conard Gymnasts Face Strong Southington Team on Senior Night

Jill da Costa Pinto performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford’s Conard High School hosted Southington Monday at Whiting Lane School.

Conard senior Eve Nelson performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

Gymnasts from West Hartford’s Conard High School had their first home meet of the season Monday, hosting Southington on senior night.

Seniors Eve Nelson and Allie Shane – both serving as captains for the second year in a row –were honored before the meet began.

Southington won the meet, scoring 132.85, while Conard scored 117.5. Nelson (31.95) and junior Jill da Costa Pinto (30) were top scorers.

Head coach Jessica Blauvelt said that although things are different this year due to the pandemic, it hasn’t created any issues.

Athletes wear masks at all times, other than when they are competing due to the possible danger of a mask slipping over the eyes while performing a routine.

“To be honest … these girls have made it so easy. I can’t possibly have asked for a better group of girls to deal with this crazy season because they are just so cognizant of everything going on, they’re so responsible, and they’re so supportive of each other. I just think they’re so grateful to have a season. I don’t think I’ve ever coached a season where everyone has been so positive.”

The Conard team is small, which makes it easier to spread out.

The senior captains “are just outstanding leaders,” Blauvelt said. “The girls really look up to them.” Both have previously competed in gymnastics at the club level and are regularly top scorers for Conard, which is now 1-2 on the season.

Da Costa Pinto and sophomore Ava Peterson are also top performers and consistent all-around competitors for the Chieftains.

Conard sophomore Ava Peterson on the beam. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

“They’re all working really hard,” Blauvelt said. About half of the team has no prior gymnastics experience, but “they still come in here and they work so hard,” she said.

There will not be a state tournament, Blauvelt said, but instead there will be a conference meet to determine standings. The meet will be held March 21 at Farmington Valley, with all gymnasts having the opportunity to compete in the same venue, on the same day.

“I’m just super grateful that we’re able to be here. It didn’t even look like we were going to have a season for a while,” Blauvelt said. High school sports had been put on pause in November, but was permitted to resume practice as of Jan. 19.

Conard will host South Windsor next Monday at Whiting Lane.

The entire meet can be viewed on YouTube below, courtesy of West Hartford Community Interactive.

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Freshman McKenzie Franklin on bars. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Senior Eve Nelson on bars. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Junior Jill da Costa Pinto on bars. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Conard junior Jill de Costa Pinto on the beam. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Senior captain Allie Shane on beam. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Senior captain Eve Nelson on beam. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Senior captain Eve Nelson on beam. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Freshman McKenzie Franklin remains masked while warming up on floor. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Coach Jessica Blauvelt (left) watches Ava Peterson warm up. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Junior Nona Ferney salutes as she begins her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Junior Nona Ferney performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

McKenzie Franklin performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

McKenzie Franklin performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Ava Peterson performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Ava Peterson performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Ava Peterson performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Ava Peterson performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Jill da Costa Pinto performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Jill da Costa Pinto performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Jill da Costa Pinto performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Conard senior Eve Nelson salutes as she prepares to begin her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Conard senior Eve Nelson performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Conard senior Eve Nelson performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Conard senior Eve Nelson performs her floor routine. Conard vs. Southington Gymnastics. Feb. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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