Thomas Jefferson gymnastics team wins state title
By: Ray Fisher
Friday, March 2, 2018 | 11:00 PM
Thomas Jefferson's gymnastics team batted 1.000 and, as a result, won the Pennsylvania Classic on Feb. 24.
It is the first state championship in gymnastics in school history.
“TJ had a great meet,” coach Jodi Cummings said. “We hit — 4 for 4 — on every event.”
TJ took first place in the Gold Division at the Pennsylvania Classic at Moon. The Jaguars, with 149.015 points, won by comfortable margins over Moon (146.917) and Central Valley (141.917).
Sophomore Diamond Division competitors Natalie Galioto, Demi Kondos and Natalie Moore and junior Courtney Kelley paced the Jaguars.
“We ended the high school season on a high note,” Galioto said. “Our coaches pushed us so hard, and we would not have won states as a team without all their support.”
Galioto finished first on bars (9.525) and beam (9.7), fifth in floor (9.433) and third all-around (37.658).
“Taking third was so exciting,” she said, “but it leaves me with the goal of doing even better next year. I can't wait to work out with my team this summer to come back even stronger next season.”
Kondos placed second on beam (9.525), fourth on bars (9.25), fifth on vault (9.533) and fourth all-around (37.391).
“Our team worked so hard this year,” Kondos said. “We put a lot of time in over the summer and worked really hard during the season. Over the course of the season, our team score improved at almost very meet. The highest of the season was at states. I truly feel we earned and deserved the state title.”
Moore ended up third on beam (9.5), fourth in floor (9.45) and seventh all-around (36.983), and Kelley took sixth on vault (9.417) and eighth all-around (36.95).
Freshman Anna Weber also chipped in with an eighth-place showing on floor (8.933) in the gold division.
Providing ample support for the Jaguars this season were juniors Angelina Gambino and Adara Getsy and freshmen Erin Grueber, Jackie Guenther and Kaylee Rowland.
TJ placed second in the Gold Division a year ago in its first year of team competition.
Baldwin takes runner-up
Baldwin placed second in the Bronze Division at the Pennsylvania Classic.
The Highlanders racked up 124.675 team points to finish behind Ridgway (127.717).
“Baldwin had a great meet in the bronze division,” said Cummings, who also coaches the Highlanders. “I'm so proud of this team. They are a young team with a lot of girls new to the sport, and they did great.”
One of the individual highlights for Baldwin was senior Hanna Kalwarski's third-place beam performance in the Silver Division.
Kalwarski, a fourth-year gymnast at Baldwin and a West Liberty commit, posted a score of 8.65.
“It was an outstanding routine, the best I've seen from her all season,” Cummings said. “It was a great feeling seeing her end her gymnastics career with a bang.”
Kalwarski is a two-sport athlete with a strong dance background. She also is a pole-vault specialist on the girls track and field team.
She had reconstructive knee surgery in May and endured a long rehab process before returning to competition in January.
“I had one of my best meets yet and hit on every event,” Kalwarski said. “I couldn't be happier with my performance.”
Kalwarski was the lone senior.
“I'm going to miss Baldwin gymnastics so much,” she said, “and to think that 12 years of my gymnastics career ended (last) weekend is a bittersweet feeling.”
At West Liberty, Kalwarski will compete in acrobatics and tumbling — one of the nation's fastest-growing intercollegiate sports — as well as in track and field.
“I'm excited to go to West Liberty to continue to set high goals for myself and to conquer them,” Kalwarski said. “But for now, I will try to make more memories in the pole vault.”
In the Pennsylvania Classic Gold Division, Baldwin sophomore Alaina Wodarek placed second on the floor with a 9.1 score, and Haili Cordell was 10th on bars (8.275).
Emma Zuder also captured ninth placed on floor (7.75) in the Bronze Division.
Junior Erin Winkowski, sophomores Abby Zuder and Paige Young and freshman Julia Stipetic rounded out the team.
Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.