All-around effort leads Thomas Jefferson gymnastics to 2nd at Moon Invitational

Sunday, January 28, 2018 | 10:12 AM

The setting was blaring, and the competition was intense.

Thomas Jefferson's gymnastics team placed second Jan. 20 at the annual Moon Invitational.

Moon won with a 146.725 point total, followed by the Jaguars with 145.175.

“The noise in the gym was amazing,” said Jodi Cummings, who coaches the TJ and Baldwin gymnasts at Premier Gym and Cheer. “The TJ and Baldwin girls were cheering for each other, and at the same time Moon was cheering for their team on bars. I have never heard a gymnastics event that loud in all the years I've been coaching. I think it really pushed these kids to do some amazing vaults.

“We had an amazing vault day. We have a lot of difficulty with our vaults, and our kids nailed them.”

As a team, Thomas Jefferson took first on the bars with 34.875 points and second on the vault (37.675), beam (34.875) and floor exercise (36.525).

The Jaguars were led by diamond division competitors Natalie Moore (third), Demi Kondos (fourth), Natalie Galioto (fifth) and Courtney Kelley (eighth), who excelled in the all-around.

Moore, a sophomore, posted an all-around score of 36.475, thanks in part to her 9.325 and first-place finish on the beam.

“(Moore) had a great meet,” Cummings said. “She stuck her beam routine, nailed her vault and performed great on floor. She had a fall on her dismount on bars, but that was the event she hurt her hand on in the beginning of the season. We are still working on getting her to her full potential (on bars). Each practice and meet she gets stronger and gets closer to being ready for WPIALs and states.”

The 9.325 was a career-best mark on the beam for Moore.

“I thought we performed well (at the invitational), but I think we have even more to show for WPIALs and states,” Moore said. “I'm coming back from a hand injury, so I'm just adding my difficulty back into my bars, but I'll definitely be ready for WPIALs. While I was injured, I could only work on beam, which has helped me improve my routine a lot.”

Moore placed fourth on the floor exercise (9.35), sixth on vault (9.45) and ninth on bars (8.35).

“Right now, I think floor and beam are both my best events,” she said, “but I'm also flipping a really difficult vault that I love to do.”

Kondos and Galioto, both sophomores, nearly tied with 36.35 and 36.275 all-around totals. Kelley, a junior, had 35.725 points.

Individual highlights were achieved by Galioto, who won the bars with a 9.45, and Kondos, who placed second on the vault with a 9.5.

“(Kondo) also had a great meet,” Cumming said. “Her vault score was our highest individual score of the day.”

Two juniors, Angie Gambino and Adara Getsy, and two freshmen, Anna Weber and Kaylee Rowland, competed as silver division gymnasts for TJ.

Gambino (33.925) and Weber (33.7) finished fourth and sixth in the all-around. Gambino placed second on the beam.

Freshmen Erin Grueber and Jackie Guenther competed in the bronze division.

“We didn't do our best on beam; we had a couple of falls,” Cummings said. “So that is what we will be working on in the coming weeks so that we are ready for WPIALs and states.”

Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.


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