Every fraction of a point makes a difference.
That was certainly the case for the Bridgewater-Raritan High School gymnastics team Wednesday, September 13, when the Panthers edged rival Hillsborough High School, 106.150-106.000, in Hillsborough in their season opener.
Ironically, the Panthers edged the Raiders by two tenths of a point not even one year earlier in the Somerset County Championship meet to win the county title, but this margin of victory was fittingly even smaller between the two Skyland Conference powerhouse programs to begin 2023.
Bridgewater-Raritan freshman Alison Lardieri scored team highs in two of the meet’s four events and contributed to the Panthers’ point totals in three events (vault, bars, floor). This included the evening’s highest individual event average of 9.4 in vault. She scored over a nine in both of her attempts along with senior Sanjana Thayi, who added an average score of 9.25, with junior Olivia Petronzi contributing a score of 8.725.
The Panthers also edged Hillsborough in beam thanks to performances by senior Elle Kim (8.95), freshman Sierra Marce (8.85), and Thayi (8.85), but the Raiders took the remaining pair of events and ultimately closed the gap to end the meet with a sweep of their floor performances: Hillsborough’s largest event margin of victory. However, Lardieri led Bridgewater-Raritan with a 9.0 while Kim and Petronzi earned scores of 8.9 and 8.75, respectively.
Bars was won by Hillsborough by a narrow decision, but Bridgewater-Raritan's scorers were Kim (8.9), Lardieri (8.45), and sophomore Lauren Yang (8.1) to round out the evening.
Next up for Bridgewater-Raritan will be a return trip to Hillsborough High School for the Varsity Invitational Tournament Saturday, September 23, at 11 a.m. before a tri-meet between the Panthers, Watchung Hills Regional High School, and Ridge High School Wednesday, September 27, at 4:30 p.m.in Basking Ridge.