Braintree keeps title in its grip
BRAINTREE — Lowell senior Bryan Manning placed in all six events, winning four of them at last night’s MIAA boys’ gymnastics state championship at Braintree High.
But even Manning, who was named all-athlete of the meet with 52 points, couldn’t help Lowell dethrone Braintree, which cruised to its third straight championship and 19th overall with 181.3 points. Lowell finished second with 161.25 and Burlington was third with 159.7
“It was great,’’ said Braintree coach Rich Ellis. “But it wasn’t me, it was the guys. They did what I asked them to do, they trained well and I’m very happy for them. The guys were very excited and everything worked out well for us.’’
Braintree was led by senior captains Ryan Hynes and Kevin O’Halloran, and junior Tim Lebbossiere. Hynes and Lebbossiere placed in every event, and O’Halloran placed in four. Hynes won the pommel horse with a score of 8.4. Lebbossierre edged Hynes (8.3 to 8.1) to take the parallel bars, and tied Manning for first in the vault with a 9.2.
“It just took a lot of hard work,’’ Hynes said. “The entire team put an effort in. We were very motivated — Rich came in and did an awesome job. It was tough for a first-year coach like that to come in, but he just did an awesome job.’’
Ellis had just as much praise for his team.
“Ryan’s done a great job for us all year long,’’ Ellis said. “Every routine he’s been a very solid guy. Kevin was hurt in the beginning of the year with a bad ankle, and he finished strong — he did really well.’’
Manning sat out last season because his club gymnastics schedule did not coordinate with his high school schedule.
“I’m pretty proud, to be honest,’’ Manning said. “I couldn’t make the practices [last season] so I couldn’t compete. It’s a pretty good feeling, but it’s the team overall that did the work. I was only one score.’’
Last season, the Red Raiders finished fifth in the state championship. Ellis said it was a great honor to keep the championships coming to Braintree.
“That’s why I came back to coach,’’ said Ellis, who also guided the Wamps from 1982-85. “I was here when they had all those wins and I wouldn’t let the tradition die. I’m going to do my best to get as many guys here and keep it going.’’