Plum’s Kvortek sets sights on success at WPIAL gymnastics meet

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Saturday, January 16, 2021 | 9:01 AM


Sarah Kvortek made her WPIAL gymnastics championship debut as a freshman last year, and the Plum athlete showed she had arrived with a fifth-place finish on bars in the Gold Intermediate I Division.

“That was such a great experience,” said Kvortek, who qualified for WPIALs in all four disciplines, including vault, beam and floor exercise, and finished 12th overall in the all-around.

“I was really happy with what I accomplished for my first WPIAL meet. The competition was amazing.”

Kvortek returns hoping for more strong high school finishes and another shot on the WPIAL’s top stage.

“My goal is to win at least one (top-three) medal this year,” she said.

Kvortek trains at Ultimate Gymnastics in Delmont, and she became a member of the training facility in July.

“It’s nice to be able to train for high school and club (USA Gymnastics) in the same gym,” Kvortek said.

To make up for lost training time because of the pandemic, Kvortek upped her training to 12 to 16 hours a week.

“That, of course, depends on how much schoolwork I have,” she said.

When gyms shut down in the early stages of the pandemic, Kvortek turned to recommended conditioning workouts and also did as much as she could on apparatus at home. Her father built her a beam and a bar structure, and she also worked out on a trampoline.

“I did whatever I could to keep my body going so I didn’t have to relearn anything when I came back to the gym,” Kvortek said.

“I couldn’t practice all my big skills I would normally practice in the gym, but I just wanted to do some basic things to keep in shape.”

Kvortek, a Level 8 for USA Gymnastics, said she has improved a lot in her routines since last high school season. Her work on beam, she said, has seen the most improvement.

“Beam has certainly come a long way, and I am really happy with that,” she said.

“It has never really been my favorite event, but my coach said it was her goal to make it my favorite. I said, ‘Go ahead. You can try.’ But I am not as wobbly as I was last year, and it has given me a new confidence.”

High school competitions haven’t started yet, and the start of the club competition season was delayed. Kvortek said she was able to keep her focus through the most recent athletics shutdown and got the opportunity to compete at Ultimate Gymnastics’ first competition of 2021, the Happy New Year Meet.

She fared well with firsts on bars and vault and a second on floor, which led to the all-around title in the Level 8 division.

“Everything went really well, and it prepared me for my high school competitions,” Kvortek said.

“I am doing the same skills in both. It’s just that the routines are a little bit different. It was nice to have at least one meet before high school. I am confident I will be able to do well in the high school season.”

Kvortek’s first high school meet was scheduled to be Tuesday at Ultimate Gymnastics against gymnasts from Burrell, Baldwin and Thomas Jefferson. The meet was to be contested past the deadline for this week’s edition.

“Sarah definitely is further along than she was last year,” said Renee Ruggieri, Kvortek’s coach at Ultimate Gymnastics.

“She is always a hard worker, and it shows in her routines. Being a part of that team environment at (Ultimate Gymnastics) has helped her, too.”

Kvortek is hoping for more positive results leading up to the WPIAL individual championships Feb. 26 at Moon High School. She is expected to again meet the qualifying standards for all four disciplines.

The WPIAL individual meet is broken down into three divisions. Advanced is at the top, followed by Gold Intermediate I and Silver Intermediate II. Each division has its own set of qualifying marks.

“I am now figuring out what I will need with my routines for high school meets,” she said.

“I am ready and excited to see what I can do.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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