MONTGOMERY — A year after winning the all-around title as a freshman, Bishop Ahr High School gymnast Julianna Drapkin came up just 0.050 short of repeating at the NJSIAA Individual Championships Saturday afternoon.
Drapkin captured the floor exercise and scored 38.225 in the all-around, narrowly behind Holmdel’s Kendall Valentin’s 38.275.
An emotional Drapkin, who thought she had won the competition for the second straight year, was in tears following the announcement of the scores. After nailing all four of her routines, she thought it was enough to win the all-around.
“It was an OK meet for me, I guess,” Drapkin said. “It was difficult to come so close, but I’m proud of what I accomplished this season and it feels good to come out second. It’s just disappointing.”
Drapkin won the floor exercise with a score of 9.675, tying Ridgewood’s Yurina Harada for the top spot, and finished fourth on the vault (9.575), fifth on the uneven bars (9.575) and seventh on the balance beam (9.475).
“I just thought about sticking everything and showing off on floor,” Drapkin said. “It feels great to the state champion on the floor.”
Only a sophomore, Drapkin will have two more chances to erase the narrow defeat, and knows that she’ll come back ready to go next season.
“I’ll get it next year. I’ll learn from this and being part of a team that’s so good, we were able to win the State Team title, definitely helps and I hope we can come back and do it again next year,” she said.
Her Bishop Ahr teammate, Casey Sabino, finished with an all-around mark of 36.175, after finishing fourth on the balance beam (9.550).
Old Bridge’s Victoria Lee was the ninth-place finished in the all-around, after scoring 37.075, and Nicole Sottiriou placed 18th for South Plainfield (36.600). Lee was ninth on the vault (9.425) and Sottiriou finished in a three-way tie for eighth on the floor (9.450). Natalie Kowalik of East Brunswick finished eighth on the uneven bars (9.425) and South Brunswick’s Morgan Rybinski was 13th on the floor (9.400).