The high school’s varsity gymnastics squad was recognized as undefeated League III champions for 2015, closing out a sparkling season to remember, filled with teamwork.
“This year’s team began the season with a focus on daily improvement through hard work, dedication and pride in their individual and team achievements,” said coach Dennis Jones. “The ‘team’ aspect of athletics is extremely important to me as a coach, and I pass this on to the girls on a daily basis. Their support for each other within the school setting, team setting and outside of each, is of paramount importance to their growth as scholar-athletes and individuals.”
En route to a championship season, the 18-member team finished with a spotless 6-0 record in their league, led by four seniors – Jackie DeRosa, co-captains Melissa Marra and Danielle Pafundi, and Vayle Suarino.
“Each member of the team had an opportunity to compete and contribute to our undefeated season,” said Jones. “I am extremely proud of all the girls, their accomplishments, their team cohesiveness, and our captains, who worked hard to always bring everyone together for a common goal.”
“I’ve been a part of the varsity gymnastics team for many years and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life,” said Pafundi. “This team has helped me grow immensely as a person. As captain this year, I gained a lot of leadership skills, responsibility and, of course, a second family. Coach Jones has been someone I’ve looked up to since I’ve been in elementary school. He’s the sole reason why I started gymnastics in the first place. I never knew that one person could make such an impact on my life, but he has, and I’m very grateful for it. I am so proud of every accomplishment we made not just as individuals, but as a team. I know next year, these girls are going to do incredible things. I hope they all know that I will forever have a special place in my heart for East Islip’s gymnastics program, because nothing will ever compare to the memories I’ve created and the friendships that will never be broken.”