Alexander, Pine-Richland shine at WPIAL gymnastics championships

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Friday, February 21, 2020 | 6:02 PM


The Pine-Richland gymnastics team capitalized on strong group-wide performances in the both the vault and beam events to finish in fourth place overall at the WPIAL gymnastics championships Feb. 15 at Moon.

The Rams took third in the team standings for both the vault and beam, collecting a score of 139.583 in the former event and 34.216 in the latter. To cap off their top-five finish, the team tallied a 34.000 on the beam and 33.750 on their floor routine, good for fourth place in both events.

Overall, coach Alex Jewart said his squad had a strong showing at the championship meet, nearly nailing down a flawless performance from top-to-bottom.

“The girls had a great finish. We had 20 routines, and we successfully executed 18 out of the 20. You’re going to have errors in a championship setting like that, but ours were minimal so I was very pleased with that performance at the team championships,” Jewart said.

Sophomore Samantha Alexander punctuated her team’s solid performance by making Pine-Richland history as the first Rams gymnast to win the all-around individual title at the WPIAL championship event.

Alexander grabbed the solo gold with a total score of 37.65 after securing first in the bars (9.575) and second on the beam (9.300). She also scored in the top-10 in both the floor (9.225) and vault (9.550) events.

“I wasn’t expecting that I was going to win, because the last few high school meets I’ve been falling a lot, but today, I had a no-fall meet,” Alexander said after the meet. “This is my first WPIAL, so this is really cool. I didn’t compete last year. I’m really proud of myself, because I haven’t had a no-fall meet in a long time.”

To make her title-winning feat even more impressive, Alexander’s stellar finish came in just her first season back on the team after spending the last year away because of injury.

“We’ve had some talented girls. We’ve won some team titles. But nobody in the past at Pine-Richland has accomplished what she did, and I’m happy she was the one to bring that recognition to our school and to herself,” Jewart said of Alexander.

“The fact that she missed well over a year from participating in the sport due to a neck injury and now this is just her first season back in it since 2016-17 is really remarkable. To see her put out this caliber of a performance, it’s special.”

Pine-Richland’s Bria Reinert placed sixth overall in the WPIAL individual all-around championships.

Thomas Jefferson won the WPIAL team title with a score of 148.467.

Rounding out the top three were Moon (147.918) and Central Valley (141.501).

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