The Warwick Vets gymnastics team is in the midst of the best season in program history. Sunday provided the validation.
The ’Canes finished off an unbeaten season – its first this century – by defeating Exeter-West Greenwich 135.22-123.90. Vets ended the season at 10-0 in Division II, clinching the regular season crown for the second consecutive season.
It was a big day for the program. Exeter-West Greenwich is in second place, but has now lost twice to Vets in convincing fashion.
“After every event the kids were coming off and everyone is hugging each other,” Vets head coach Stacy Capone said on Monday. “They were pumped yesterday. Our athletic director came down, parents, some people from the high school. The owners from Warwick Dance and Gymnastics came down to watch the girls.”
Vets got a standout performance from 2012 state champion Candis Kowalik, who competed all-around and ended up with a score of 37.875. Freshmen Ashley Clift and Dayna Razza also competed all around, while Danielle Breault, Kayleigh Desjarlais and Tierra Frey contributed too. Tess Bussick and Katie Moore competed as well.
“Everyone collectively just did a great job and hit everything,” Capone said.
Clift, one of seven freshmen who joined the program this season, had one of her better showings of the season, racking up a 34.05 all-around score. She scored a 9.2 on the floor, the highest score for anyone on the team outside of Kowalik.
“Ashley Clift, who is right behind Candis, did an awesome, awesome floor routine,” Capone said.
Razza finished with a 31.25, including an 8.3 on the floor and an 8.2 on the vault. Breault scored an 8.45 on vault, while Desjarlais scored a 7.6 on the beam. Frey added a 7.55 on the bars and a 7.75 on the beam.
The end result was the team’s highest score of the season. Its previous high was 133.70.
“Everyone just kind of held their own yesterday,” Capone said.
Vets’ team score was the best score by any Division II team this year, making it the overwhelming favorite to win the D-II state championship on Feb. 15.
In fact, its score was the second-best of any team in the state at any point this season, with Division I frontrunner La Salle’s 136.25 as the only higher total.
It’s conceivable that Vets could finish with the highest score of any team – regardless of division – at the state meet.
The program has never won a state title.
“This could really be something new to the school,” Capone said. “The girls are just beside themselves.”
Kowalik could also add a second state championship to her personal trophy case. The top-ranked gymnast in the state last year, she never got a chance to defend her title due to a broken foot she suffered late in the season.
This year, she should be right back in the mix.
“As long as she performs like she did yesterday, she is definitely a contender for the state individual title,” Capone said.
It’s already been a banner year for Vets. The ’Canes will have the opportunity in two weeks to finish it off in style.
“We’re hopeful going into the state meet,” Capone said. “It’s very encouraging.”