Mashpee/Falmouth Gymnasts Exceed Expectations
By: RICH MACLONE, February 28, 2014
Back in December, when the Falmouth/Mashpee gymnastics team was just getting ready for its inaugural season, head coach Shailey Pires did not have any delusions of grandeur. She believed her team had talent, but she wasn’t expecting instant greatness. She was expecting instant goodness. Her team would win more than it lost, she figured, but since they were just getting going the chances were good that there would be as many downs as ups along the way.
The coach is quite happy that she hadn’t quite gauged the situation correctly. Not only were there far more ups than downs, but even the downs—which were few—had their share of silver linings. One of the lone downs of the year happened on Saturday at the MIAA south sectional championships. The Falmouth/Mashpee girls just missed advancing to the sectional championships, by less than a point, as they finished fifth. The top four teams advanced.
Still, the disappointment of not advancing was overshadowed by the fact that the team finished fifth at the regional championships. They entered the weekend ranked ninth and had simply hoped to do better than that.
Falmouth/Mashpee missed moving on by just 0.975 point as the squad completed the meet with 139.4. Wellesley, which advanced in fourth place, finished with 140.375. To the surprise of no one, Barnstable won the sectional title with 146.150 points, and coach Pires’s little sister, Tali Twomey, was the all-around champion. Mansfield (141.9) was second and Shrewsbury (141) finished third.
“It’s so awesome. We didn’t know until the end, when they were announcing the scores, that we’d finished fifth. It’s kind of bittersweet, because we were so close,” coach Pires said.
The team did very well on both the bars and the floor exercise. On the bars, Taylor Dimond led the way with a third place finish, scoring 9.2. Sydney Pinsonneault was 10th, with a 9.0 and Allison Kondracki scored an 8.6, which placed her 25th. Ian Irving got an 8.55 to place 26th. Julia Ferreira and Emerson Dimond also competed in the event.
The floor saw Pinsonneault score an eighth place finish, with a 9.3, and Taylor Dimond was 13th, with a 9.15. Kondracki posted a 9.05 for 17th and Irving scored 9,0, for 21st. Ferreira and Molly Ives both competed as well.
Irving, Pinsonneault and Kondracki finished in consecutive spots on the vault, earning 11th to 13th respectively. Irving had a 9.1, Pinsonneault had a 9.05 and Kondracki scored 8.9. Emerson Dimond finished 63rd with a 7.8, and Samantha Theroux also competed.
The balance beam, which has been the team’s most troublesome apparatus most of the season, didn’t go as well as hoped. Taylor Dimond’s 8.7 was the top score for the team, which was 22nd. Pinsonneault was 29th, with an 8.55. Kondracki scored a 7.95, for 50th, and Ferreira posted a 7.5, for 59th. Ives and Madi Andrade also competed in the event.
“We did a lot better than I expected,” coach Pires said. “We were just trying to be consistent with each event at a time and trying not to get caught up in the moment.”
There will plenty of other big moments in the future, the coach believes. With the exception of Taylor Dimond, who is a junior, all of the top performers on this year’s team are sophomores or freshmen. With a couple of very talented gymnasts from the middle school ranks planning to join the team next year, Pires thinks that the best days are ahead.
She is close with the coaching staff at Barnstable, which is favored to win the state title. Pires used to be joking, but now she’s pretty serious when she talks with her counterpart from Red Raiders land. “I’ve told him, we’re coming for him,” she said. “Next year, I think it’s going to be really close.”
Both the coach and her athletes are looking forward to going after their rivals. “On the way home, the girls were saying, ‘I want next year to start tomorrow,’ ” the coach said. “I’m looking forward to it, but I don’t mind a little time off first.”