Biondi’s Gymnastics sends 50 members to states
By: Jerin Steele
Saturday, June 2, 2018 | 10:00 AM
When Alison Biondi opened her gym in Irwin six years ago after buying it from her former employer, Jutec Kasamon, she only had a handful of gymnasts to work with.
It had been her dream to have a top facility in the area, so she went to work promoting her business and that labor has paid off.
Alison Biondi's Gymnastics hit a milestone this spring when all 50 of her competitive gymnasts qualified for their respective state events, including nine regional qualifiers. The gym's entire Xcel gymnastics team also qualified for states.
“It's a huge accomplishment,” Biondi said. “Most of our gymnasts qualified in their first meet out. It's a big deal, and we're really proud of all of them.”
Everyone that qualified for states and regionals is younger than 16 years old.
Isabella and Capriana Biondi, Alison's daughters, were Level 9 regional qualifiers. Hannah Shaw and Kayce Tomasic made Level 8 regionals.
Camden Bontempo, Lorenzo Bontempo, Lenny Leinenbach and Nolan Warble were Level 5 boys regional qualifiers. The boys program is only 2 years old and has 10 members. They are coached by Elias Cortez.
Biondi said the average competitive gymnast practices 25 hours per week.
The Biondis and Bontempos are in the Penn-Trafford School District, Shaw is in the Norwin School District and Tomasic is in the Hempfield School District.
The gym recently was recognized by State Rep. George Dunbar, who represents the 56th district, with a certificate of achievement.
Biondi always had dreams of opening her own gym, and her vision got clearer a decade ago when she met Kasamon, a former Russian ballet star.
Biondi's daughters were interested in gymnastics, so she went to work for Kasamon at his gym and after four years of working with him, she purchased it.
The gym has blossomed to more than 300 participants in various activities, to go along with the 50 competitive gymnasts.
“When I started helping (Kasamon), I knew I wanted to own the gym someday,” Biondi said. “Then it became mine with a lot of hard work. When I started the gym I had five kids, and now we have around 350. We did a little bit of advertising, and with the word of mouth, it spread. It just kind of grew. If you do a good job and work hard then people will come.”
Biondi plans to expand her competitive gymnastics team even more for next season and hopes to send a few more gymnasts to nationals.
“If you do what you love, you'll make it work,” Biondi said. “I was a competitive gymnast and getting back into it kind of ignited everything again. We just keep working hard, and now we're in full bloom. My projections for next year have us adding about a dozen competitive gymnasts.”
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer.