Warwick Vets junior Candis Kowalik was the top performer at the Rhode Island state gymnastics meet last month, and on Saturday, she was the top Rhode Islander on an even bigger stage.
Competing in the New England Championship at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, Mass., Kowalik won the vault championship and finished eighth overall in the all-around standings, leading the way among Rhode Island competitors.
Kowalik, a two-time state champion, now owns two top-10 New England finishes. She was the New England runner-up in 2012 before missing the meet last year with an injury. The vault crown was her first New England title.
Kowalik finished in the top 10 in three of four events, with the only exception a 35th-place finish in the balance beam. Kowalik’s performance led Vets to a 10th place finish out of 12 in the team race. Freshmen Tierra Frey and Ashley Clift also had strong showings, taking 43rd and 57th overall.
Kowalik’s final all-around score was 37.250, sixth-tenths off the total that won her the Rhode Island championship. Had she matched that 37.85, she would have been the New England runner-up again. Woodstock’s Courtney Osborn won the title with a 38.125. Woodstock also won the team championship. Pinkerton’s Brittany Capozzi was second with a score of 37.675.
The vault performance by Kowalik was among the most impressive of the meet, across all disciplines. She scored a 9.725, which matched the title-winning bars score of Woodstock’s Grace Logan for the best mark of the day in any event. Kowalik beat out Osborn, the all-around champion, to win the vault. Osborn scored a 9.700. Kowalik had scored only a 9.500 on vault in the Rhode Island state meet.
In the floor exercise and bars, Kowalik grabbed top-10 finishes. She finished tied for fifth in the floor with a score of 9.400. She was .175 back if first-place finisher Paige Stuyniski of Woodstock. In the bars, Kowalik finished tied for ninth with a 9.375. Logan’s 9.725 was tops.
In the beam, Kowalik had her only tough finish of the day. She scored an 8.750 to finish in a tie for 35th.
Outside of Kowalik, Vets’ top individual performances came from Clift. She finished tied for 41st in the floor exercise with an 8.700, tied for 50th in the bars with an 8.2 and 67th in the beam with a 7.950.
Frey competed in every event, taking 71st in the bars with a 7.05, 75th in the floor with a 7.85, a 77th-place tie in the vault with a 8.100 and 80th in the beam with a 6.950.
Tess Bussick and Dayna Razza each competed in three events for Vets. Bussick took 74th in the bars, 77th in the floor and 78th in the beam. Razza finished tied for 72nd in the bars, tied for 75th in the beam and 69th in floor.
Also for Vets, Haley Gayer finished 61st in floor with an 8.375 and tied for 71st in beam. Danielle Breault tied for 72nd in bars, Ryenne Lonergan and Kayleigh Desjarlais tied for 66th in the vault and Katie Moore finished tied for 77th in the vault.
Behind Kowalik, the second-best Rhode Island finisher was North Kingstown’s Allison DiBiase in 19th with a score of 36.175. DiBiase was the Rhode Island state runner-up. Mt. Hope’s Victoria Gendreau took 29th with a 34.775. La Salle’s Molly Anthony and Amanda Parker went 30th and 31st.
La Salle was the top Rhode Island team, finishing in eighth.