PROVIDENCE — For the second year in a row, Alysse Pazienza is on top of the Rhode Island gymnastics world.
“This feels really good," said Pazienza. "I was a little nervous coming in and facing this top competition. You just have to act like it’s just another meet and usually when I can do that I get the results I want.”
“She’s just phenomenal and I didn’t doubt her for a second,” North Kingstown head coach Khiara LaBrie said. “Every year she has improved and she just looks great out there.”
The junior Skipper was able to hold off a strong push from LaSalle Academy’s Savannah Soares, claiming the title by edging out Soares 37.45-37.175.
Pazienza won the all-around crown in her final event of the day, the beam, winning the event with a score of 9.5.
Her performance on the beam proved to be the difference, as Soares won every event except the beam, finishing 10th and conceding nearly a full point to Pazienza.
“There was definitely a lot more pressure on me this year and I knew that I had to hit that event,” Paziena said.
Balance was also key in propelling Pazienza to the title, as she took second in bars with a 9.05, third in floor with a 9.4 and fourth in vault with a 9.4.
“It’s so hard to say what her best event is. She’s just so consistent in everything,” LaBrie said. “She’s so level headed and she doesn’t let anything get to her.”
For Paziena, this second title has been a long time in the making, as she has spent nearly all of her life in gymnastics.
“I started when I was two years old. My parents wanted something for me to do to release my energy, so they put me in gymnastics,” Pazienza said.
While beam may have won her the title on Sunday, floor remains her favorite event to compete in.
“When you do your floor routine you really express yourself through gymnastics, and it’s just a great release for whatever you have going in school, at home or whatever,” Pazienza said.
Pazienza is now on the verge of putting herself in some very elite company in the history of Rhode Island gymnastics, as only three gymnasts have ever won three individual titles.
Cindy Tallmadge won three in a row from 1978-80 for Toll Gate High, Donna Ferra won three straight at North Smithfield High from 1981-83 and LaSalle’s Amanda Fogarty took home three consecutive championships from 2002-04.
“I’m not going to focus on that right now, I’m just going to enjoy this,” Pazienza said.