Friday, February 3, 2012


The news drove a stake through my heart.

I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Conard High gymnastics coach Laurie Scinto on the coverage of her magnificent team when one the saddest emails I’ve received came in.

Jackie Palermo, as talented a freshman as I’ve ever covered, suffered a broken bone in her hand and is lost for the season.

I saw Jackie perform against RHAM in her very first varsity meet January 5. An accomplished club gymnast, she was particularly captivating on her floor exercise. As the season has gone along, Jackie has diligently worked on increasing the degree of difficulty in her events

In Conard’s landmark victory over multiple state and New England champion Southington on January 26, Jackie recorded a 9.4 on the floor, a 9.2 on the bars and 9.0 on the beam en route to scoring 36.0 in the all-around.

As Coach Scinto said, Jackie was making the necessary adjustments to high school gymnastics, which pose different requirements than those at the club level.

Conard will not yield in Jackie’s absence as it vies for a lofty spot in the state championships. Scinto indicated that the team’s depth is exceptional. Senior captain Ellen Bridgman and a talented core of juniors – Shannon Bouvier, Taylor Hadra, Katie Newton and Amanda Sloan – will do well through the second half of the season and the postseason. …

Another Conard athlete who has captivated me is sophomore distance runner Lizzy Lagoy.

When Lizzy’s cross country numbers began to diminish despite her dedication to training, an alarm went off. It turns out she was suffering from an iron deficiency, an easily correctable condition that requires patience.

I’m thrilled to say that Lizzy has returned to form in the indoor track season. She had an eye-opening duel in the 3,200 meters recently with Glastonbury’s Reid Watson, the Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year in Connecticut. She had the lead until dropping behind Watson in the final two laps.

Lizzy also plays for Tom Verrengia’s defending-champion softball team. …

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