Woodstock Academy wins eighth CIAC gymnastics State Open title in 10 seasons

Woodstock Academy celebrates after winning the State Open gymnastics title on Saturday.

Woodstock Academy celebrates after winning the State Open gymnastics title on Saturday.

Will Aldam / Hearst Connecticut Media

NEW MILFORD — For the eighth time in ten seasons, the Woodstock Academy gymnastics team was crowned State Open champions with a 141.525-point performance on Saturday.

After a second-place finish at the 2020 State Open, Woodstock Academy returned to form as the top team in the state with a relatively new roster.

“It feels really good coming off of that (second place finish in 2020) and we knew there was tough competition today too,” Woodstock Academy coach Kacey Tocchio said. “This kind of is a brand-new team, even Taylor (Markley) had been hurt so this was really her first high school season. Lindsey (Gillies) is our veteran senior who has been through it before, but for the rest of them it was all new.”

The Centaur’s were led my junior Markley, who was the first-place finisher in every event on her way to being named All Around champion with 38.775 points.

“It feels really good to be able to win it, and I think that we have done really well this season,” Markley said. “We are 11-0 in all of our meets with ECCs, states and now this. It boosts confidence in every meet. I like to go out and have fun now, while at the beginning of the season I was way more nervous.”

Markley scored 9.8 on vault, 9.750 in bars, 9.650 in beam, and 9.575 in floor to sweep out the event, an accomplishment she had previously achieved at the Class M meet.

“I am just so proud of her, I can’t brag enough about Taylor,” Tocchio said. “She has been my gymnast since she was a toddler. I’ve seen her grow and it is beautiful. She is confident and is just a leader on our team, it is fun to watch.”

Woodstock Academy freshman Olivia Aleman also helped propel her team into first place, finishing third overall in the All Around with a score of 36.375.

“Olivia came off an injury this year as well and started halfway through the season,” Tocchio said. “She is still doing watered down routines from what she is capable of, so we are looking at big things for her over the next three years.”

Aleman finished fourth in vault at 9.275, sixth in bars at 9.1, and third in floor with a score of 9.2.

Markley, Aleman and their champion Woodstock teammates qualified for New England’s, along with second place Hand (139.575) and third place Fairfield Warde (139.150) and various individual qualifiers.

“I am really excited for New England’s, and I am really glad that a lot of kids on the team are also coming,” Markley said. “So, I won’t be alone which is nice.”

Hand entered the State Open as the favorite having gone undefeated throughout the season.

“We feel good, this was the first loss we had this season so they would have liked to win,” Hand coach Kelly Smith said. “We are excited to go represent Connecticut as a state at New England’s, which we haven’t done in a few years as a team. So that is a really great accomplishment for us.”

Hand was led by freshman Morgan Flickinger, who finished fourth in the All Around. Flickinger finished sixth in floor at 9.0, fourth in bars at 9.150, and third in beam at 9.175.

“Morgan is a freshman, so we have so much left to see from her,” Smith said. “She came in this year and is new to our town. She has a positive attitude and is a hard worker. She won our conference and helped us be so successful as a team. For her to stand up there with the best of the best this weekend, she deserves it. She performs great under pressure.”

Fairfield Warde’s third-place finish was led by junior Emma C. Johnson, who finished second in the All Around with a score of 37.350.

Johnson finished second in beam at 9.550, second in floor at 9.250, and second in bars at 9.450.

Woodstock Academy, Hand and Fairfield Warde will all participate in the team competition at New England’s.

“I think the top three Connecticut teams are all really strong,” Smith said. “We will look to repeat our performance from today and hope to be near that 140 mark and that puts us somewhere in the top five. We will see how it shakes out.”

Woodstock Academy will look to build upon its 2020 third overall finish in New England’s.

“I haven’t really seen anything from teams from other states, so we don’t know what to expect,” Tocchio said. “We will just plug along for another week, same thing, and hopefully we will end on a high note.”


Team results: 1. Woodstock Academy, 141.525; 2. Daniel Hand, 139.575; 3. Fairfield Warde, 139.150; 4. St. Joseph, 132.875.

Vault: 1. Taylor Markley, Woodstock Academy, 9.800; 2. Mia Guster, Staples, 9.525; 3T. Juliana Gagliardi, H-K/Morgan/Westbrook, 9.300; 3T. Lindsay Gillies, Woodstock Academy, 9.300; 4. Olivia Aleman, Woodstock Academy, 9.275; 5. Jordyn Murray, Ellis Tech, 9.225; 6T. Brenna Johnson, Plainfield, 9.175; 6T. Olivia Mannino, Wilton, 9.175.

Uneven Bars: 1. Taylor Markley, Woodstock Academy, 9.750; 2. Emma. C Johnson, Fairfield Warde, 9.450; 3. Lauren Heller, Stamford, 9.400; 4. Morgan Flickinger, Daniel Hand, 9.150; 5. Kaitlyn Abbey, East Lyme, 9.125; 6. Olivia Aleman, Woodstock Academy, 9.100.

Balance Beam:  1. Taylor Markley, Woodstock Academy, 9.650; 2. Emma C Johnson, Fairfield Warde, 9.550; 3. Morgan Flickinger, Daniel Hand, 9.175; 4. Lindsay Capobianco, St. Joseph, 9.150; 5. Mia Guster, Staples, 9.000; 6. Ella Esposito, Guilford, 8.900.

Floor Exercise: 1. Taylor Markley, Woodstock Academy, 9.575; 2T. Emma C Johnson, Fairfield Warde, 9.250; 2T. Mia Guster, Staples, 9.250; 3. Olivia Aleman, Woodstock Academy, 9.200; 4. Brenna Johnson, Plainfield, 9.175; 5. Juliana Gagliardi, H-K/Morgan/Westbrook, 9.075; 6T. Morgan Flickinger, Daniel Hand, 9.000; 6T. Kaitlyn Abbey, East Lyme, 9.000; 6T. Bailey Klein, Fairfield Warde, 9.000.

All Around: 1. Taylor Markley, Woodstock Academy, 38.775; 2. Emma C Johnson, Fairfield Warde, 37.350; 3. Olivia Aleman, Woodstock Academy, 36.375; 4. Morgan Flickinger, Daniel Hand, 36.025; Charlotte Pacheco, Tolland, 35.200; 6. Brenna Johnson, Plainfield, 35.000.