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Former star Vanessa James returns to lead Malden gymnastics team

Posted by Marcia Dick  January 10, 2012 10:04 AM

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Paul Famiglietti

Senior Alana Casey (left) and freshman Noelle Bellmer.


The following was submitted by Malden High publicity director Paul Famiglietti:

Under the watchful eye of new coach and former Tornado star Vanessa James, the Malden High School gymnastics team opened its 2012 with two victories.

The Tornadoes defeated Tewksbury at home on Jan. 3, 118-106, and then on Jan, 5 narrowly beat rival Medford - last year’s Greater Boston League champs ¬- 115-113.

Top scorers for Malden against Tewksbury were cocaptain Jonathan Silva, vault (8.3); cocaptain Alana Casey, bars (8.0); Justine Rose, beam (7.8); and Noelle Bellmer and Alana Casey, both scoring 8.0 in the floor exercise.

Leading the way against Medford was freshman Noelle Bellmer, winning the vault (8.1) and floor exercise (8.2).

“It was very close the entire meet,” said James. “We knew we were trailing Medford going into our fourth and final event. The team did an amazing job of staying focused and performed some of the best routines I’ve seen this year.

James is no stranger to Malden High School. She was on the MHS gymnastics team from 1998-2001, helping the Tornadoes win the GBL championship in 2001. She received Boston Globe’s All-Scholastic Awards in 1999, 2000, and 2001 for gymnastics and went on to compete for the Massachusetts High School National Team, which also won that year.

James received a full athletic scholarship to the University of New Hampshire, where she competed in all the gymnastics events during her four years there. She’s currently a second grade teacher at Malden’s Salemwood School.

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Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Vanessa James in 2001, with medals she received as a member of the Massachusetts Gymnastics Team that won the national title.

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