Reilly Benson was disappointed last year when she didn’t win the Section 9 All-Around championship in 2022.
Some hard work, and now she can say she’s the Section 9 All-Around champion, as Benson won three of the four individual events, earning her first all-around championship as the Valley Central Vikings – in just their second season – have won their second straight Section 9 team championship on February 13 at Epik Athletics in Middletown.
“It feels good because we’ve been working hard and I feel like we deserve it,” Benson said.
Wallkill’s Marlee McCullough, who won last year’s All-Around championship, was second, just behind Benson, with 35.025 points. Benson finished with 35.775.
Benson posted her best score on the floor exercises, a 9.25, just ahead of McCullough’s 9.2. She also won the vault with an 8.8 and the uneven bars with a 9.125. She counts the uneven bars and the floor exercises as her favorite in the event.
“I love bars because I tend to do better on it,” Benson said. “On the floor, I just like showing off my dance routine.”
She didn’t love the balance beam as much, as it was the only event she didn’t win. McCullough won that event with a score of 8.75. Benson finished third. McCullough was third in the other three events.
The Vikings won the event with 161.425 points, with the Wallkill Panthers finishing second with 145.10 points.
Valley Central’s Eleanor O’Neill was fourth in the all-around after finishing third in the uneven bars, fourth on the balance beam and third on the floor. Senior Erin Sullivan was fifth in the all-around, after tying for third in the vault. She was fifth on the uneven bars and sixth on the floor.
“We just work hard in practice, and we make everyone practice count,” Benson said. “When we go out to the meets, it’s like another practice and we do good.”
She will lead a contingent of gymnasts at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship meet on March 4 at Kenmore West High School.
She’ll be joined by teammates O’Neill, Bailey Badendyck and Leah Rieber, Wallkill’s Marlee McCullough, FDR’s Emma Jaeger, Kingston’s Ava Ziros, and New Paltz’s Claire Coiteux.
Section 9 Gymnastics Championships
Team scores: 1. Valley Central - 161.425; 2. Wallkill - 145.10; 3. Kingston - 141.45; 4. FDR - 140.275; 5. New Paltz - 32.25.
Vault: 1. Reilly Benson (VC) - 8.8; 2. Marlee McCullough (Wallkill) - 8.550; 3. Julia Meyer (FDR), Erin Sullivan (VC) - 8.2; 5. Bailey Badendyck (VC) - 8.175; 6. Leigh Rieber (VC) - 8.15.
Uneven bars: 1. Reilly Benson (VC) - 9.125; 2. Marlee McCullough (Wallkill) - 8.529; 3. Julia Meyer (FDR) - 8.075; 4. Claire Coiteux (NP) - 8.0; 5. Erin Sullivan (VC) - 7.8; 6. Leah Rieber (VC) - 7.75.
Balance beam: 1. Marlee McCullough (Wallkill) - 8.75; 2. Emma Jaeger (FDR) - 8.725; 3. Reilly Benson (VC) - 8.6; 4. Eleanor O’Neill (VC) - 8.475; 5. Julia Meyer (FDR) - 8.45; 6. Ava Ziras (Kingston) - 8.15.
Floor exercise: 1. Reilly Benson (VC) - 9.25; 2. Marlee McCullough (Wallkill) - 9.2; 3. Eleanor O’Neill (VC) - 91.125; 4. Bailey Badendyck (VC) - 9.05; 5. Emma Jaeger (FDR) - 9.0; 6. Erin Sullivan (VC) - 8.95.
All-Around: 1. Reilly Benson (VC) - 35.775; 2. Marlee McCullough (Wallkill) - 35.025; 3. Julia Meyer (FDR) - 33.575; 4. Eleanor O’Neill (VC) - 33.050; 5. Erin Sullivan (VC) - 33.000; 6. Emma Jaeger (FDR) - 32.525.