Baldwin’s Wodarek relishes WPIAL gold medal in floor exercise
By: Ray Fisher
Friday, February 23, 2018 | 11:48 PM
Diminutive sophomore Alaina Wodarek has made a big impact on the Baldwin gymnastics team in her first year of competition.
Wodarek, a third-year Baldwin cheerleader and gold division gymnast, took first place on the floor exercise at the WPIAL individual championships held recently at Moon.
“Alaina's routine was great, and I knew she was going to place well,” coach Jodi Cummings said. “Her floor routine is so fun and energetic; she is very entertaining to watch. This is a huge accomplishment since this is her first year doing gymnastics.”
The 5-foot-1 Wodarek was awarded a season-high 9.3 score for her routine.
“My turns were sharp, and I stuck my tumbling passes,” Wodarek said. “Once my music ended and I hit my final pose, I knew that was my best performance of the season. I waited for my scores and was beyond excited and shocked to find out I reached such a high score.
“Floor is my favorite and strongest event. I feel the most confident on the floor because I have been tumbling for so long. I love tumbling and performing, so floor is a perfect event for me.”
Wodarek is a member of Baldwin's competitive cheer squad that recently competed at the National High School Cheerleading Championship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. It was televised on ESPN and ESPN2.
“We had an exciting time at nationals,” Wodarek said. “Even though we were in Disney, we focused more on the cheer part over the parks. Every time I walk on the mat, I feel like I'm in a different world. I run on with a big smile as I take it all in. The bright lights in the huge arena and loud audience actually calms me down and helps me focus on every second of the routine, making every motion and stunt perfect.”
Wodarek was joined by several teammates at the WPIAL individual gymnastics finals, including senior Hanna Karlawski, juniors Erin Winkowski and Haili Cordell, sophomore Abby Zuder and freshman Julia Stipetic. Two other sophomores, Paige Young and Emma Zuder, round out the squad.
Winkowski, Young and the Zuder twins also are members of Baldwin's competitive cheer squad.
The Baldwin gymnasts' final meet of the season took place last weekend at the Pennsylvania Classic at Moon.
Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.