Noah Roberson set the pace – and the soundtrack – at the Section VI boys gymnastics meet Thursday.
Competing in his home gym, the Williamsville South junior won the all-around championship, following in the footsteps of his brother, Nathaniel, who won all-around honors two years ago.
The younger Roberson snagged three individual event championships and a 55.85 overall score, topping Williamsville East sophomore Stephen Frost by 3.1 points for the overall crown. Roberson succeeds Clarence’s Jonathan Zirna, who set the Section VI all-around record with a 57.45, as section champion.
“I just really wanted to win it after following my brother and Jon the last two years,” Roberson said.
Roberson admitted to nerves in his first event, the floor routine. He relaxed after defending his Section VI title in the event with a 9.45, playing songs on a small amplifier between his events.
“Sometimes it takes that first routine to get in the groove,” Williamsville coach Joe Buscaglia said. “He’s someone who’s always been overshadowed by his big brother and this was his chance to shine by himself and win a sectional championship. Once he started his floor routine I knew it was going to be a big day for him.”
Roberson went on to win the parallel bar (9.1) and high bar (9.5) titles. The sophomore standout was runner-up to Zirna in the vault last year, but decided to enter for medal contention in only half of the meet’s events.
“We decided he was going to do three events and I was going to do three events, so we split it down the middle evenly,” said Frost, Roberson’s good friend and only close competition for the overall crown. “He had a good meet. He always performs well.”
Frost won the pommel horse (8.7), still rings (8.95) and vault (9.2) to take second for the Flames. Hunter Sullivan’s 35.25 was good for third in the all-around for Clarence, which won the team title with an 8-0 regular-season record.
Roberson’s closest call of the day came on the vault, where an aborted first run gave him a tense second chance at the event. With the gym silent, the sophomore corrected his approach and stuck the landing, drawing cheers from the crowd.
After surviving the vault and winning parallel bars, he got to pick his own music for the high bar finale. Signaling Frost at the stereo, Roberson notched his 9.5 on the bar while the instrumental “Heart of Courage” played overhead.
He called the song “encouraging and inspiring … I just wanted to be in the moment.”
There will be no state meet, as five Section VI schools are the only ones holding a boys gymnastics championship this season.