Plum’s Kvortek looks forward to WPIAL gymnastics championships

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Friday, January 24, 2020 | 5:27 PM


Sarah Kvortek fell in love with gymnastics after being introduced to the sport during a friend’s birthday party at Gymkhana in Plum while in first grade.

“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “I loved swinging on the bars and the feeling of just flying through the air.”

In the eight years that have passed since that first encounter, Kvortek has honed her skills and has risen up the ranks of USA Gymnastics and owns Level 7 certification.

“I like the challenge of learning new skills and working up to new levels,” she said.

The freshman at Plum recently began a new venture in gymnastics at the high school level, and so far, things are progressing well. Kvortek has qualified for next month’s WPIAL individual championships at Moon High School, and she said, the time is now to sharpen her skills in the beam, uneven bars, vault and floor exercise.

“I have had a few (high school) meets so far, and I have a good idea of where I am at and what I need to work on before WPIALs,” said Kvortek, who trains several times a week at Ultimate Gymnastics in Delmont.

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Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Plum gymnast Sarah Kvortek competes Jan. 23, 2020 at Jewarts Gymnastics.

The WPIAL-championship weekend is Feb. 14 and 15. The first night is for the team competition, and the individuals will take center stage the next day.

To qualify for WPIALs, Kvortek had to meet preset qualifying-score requirements in her four events and also have scores recorded at four or more PIAA officiated meets/tournaments or invitationals.

Kvortek achieved her qualifying scores in her high school competition debut Dec. 18, the date of her 15th birthday. The meet was a special one, Kvortek said, because it was at home at Ultimate Gymnastics and she felt more comfortable and was able to get out all the jitters.

“It was such a relief to get those scores,” she said. “I felt a little pressure because I really wanted to qualify for WPIALs. It was nice to get that off my back and done with.”

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Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Plum gymnast Sarah Kvortek competes in the vault competition Jan. 23, 2020 at Jewarts Gymnastics.

Her fourth meet sanctioned by the PIAA was Friday at Ultimate Gymnastics. She now is set to go for WPIALs.

“I just hope to do well for my first time there and maybe place in an event or two,” said Kvortek, who will be placed in one of three competition divisions based on her level for club gymnastics and her scores in the regular-season meets.

“I’m sure there will be some pressure, but I hope to handle it the best I can.”

Kvortek is a single Plum representative, but she said she doesn’t feel alone in her quests at the high school level.

She trains in the company of the nine members of the Burrell gymnastics team as well as other independent gymnasts representing Norwin and Greensburg Salem.

The group at Ultimate Gymnastics also compete in the same locations.

“It’s kind of like I have a team,” Kvortek said. “I love the camaraderie of the girls. Everybody cheers each other on and supports each other.”

Kvortek said she is most on track with the uneven bars, but still needs some work on beam.

“I need to improve my balance on the beam, straightening out my legs and cleaning up my skills, stuff like that,” Kvortek said.

Renee Ruggeri, Kvortek’s coach who also coaches the Burrell squad and the other independents at Ultimate Gymnastics, saw Kvortek quickly make her mark at the high school level.

“This gives Sarah something really nice to be connected to and identify with in her school,” Ruggeri said.

“She’s been so involved with club gymnastics, and this is another thing she can take pride and stand out in. She’s such a hard worker and is always looking to get better in all of her events.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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