The Wellesley gymnastics team is always on their feet for each other. Pictured from left to right are Julia Pakey, Lauren Lazaro, Quincy Rawson, Gabby Reed, Kristina Baldwin, Kirsten Johnson and Hannah Sallis. (Photo courtesy of Francesco Campagna)
By Robert Rosen
Hometown Weekly Staff
The Wellesley gymnastics team recently claimed the Bay State Conference title for the seventh consecutive year, solidifying their status as one of the top programs in the commonwealth.
“It’s been amazing,” coach Abby O’Connell said of her time as coach. “I’ve met so many wonderful young people. Watching my seniors grow and achieve their goals over the past four years makes me so proud to be a part of this team.”
Coming into the season, the Raiders knew they’d be good. With several returning gymnasts on the team, how good they could be would ultimately depend on the freshmen who were joining the squad.
“We had a strong freshmen class and those athletes made our team stronger this season,” O’Connell said. “Although everyone on the team contributes to our success, this year our freshmen had a significant impact on our results.”
Some of the standouts for the Raiders this season included Lauren Lazaro, Olivia Novins, Kristina Baldwin, Gabby Reed and Megan Harrington. Harrington, Lazaro and Novins all competed in State Individuals, while Novins has also been chosen to present Team Massachusetts at Senior Nationals in May.
Other highlight this season, according to O’Connell, were hearing about college acceptances for the seniors and going to the Senior Superbowl, which was a great place for the seniors to really shine.
“We’ve always had great athletes and the support of the community, but more than anything Coach Melissa Flemming has driven this program to success,” O’Connell said. “She is the one constant for our team and has been with this program from the start. Melissa is an exceedingly smart coach. Not only is she the brains behind the operation, she’s also the heart.
“Melissa cares about the program, the athletes and the sport of gymnastics. She keeps us all on track and makes us smarter competitors.”
With another BSC title in the books, the Raiders are already looking forward to next year, when they hope they can take home an eighth straight conference title.
Robert Rosen is an Editor for Hometown Weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @roberterosen.