TJ gymnast Moore writes perfect ending with 10 on vault at WPIAL meet

Friday, February 21, 2020 | 6:02 PM

Thomas Jefferson senior gymnast Natalie Moore capped her career with rare perfection — a 10.0 score on the vault from one of the judges at the WPIAL championships.

Moore placed second in the all-around in the advanced division with 37.133 points at the WPIAL finals Feb. 15 at Moon. She set a meet record on the vault with a 9.95 score.

But it was her second vault attempt that drew a roar from the capacity crowd.

“I’ve been competing the front vault for three years, and all my teammates and coaches always joke about when I was finally gonna get a 10,” Moore said. “During the team final, I basically stuck my vault and got a 9.85, so my coach asked me when I was gonna get a 10? I told her on Saturday, and I still can’t believe I actually did it.

“When they held up the 10.0, I was in complete shock. We’ve never had a gymnast score a 10.0 before. It was super exciting. Everyone in the building was cheering so loud.”

Thomas Jefferson coach Jodi Cummings said Moore’s vault performance was one of the most thrilling and rewarding moments of her coaching career.

“Natalie’s vault was amazing,” Cummings said. “The gym was packed, and everyone went crazy when she nailed the vault and they posted the 10.

“She has been working on perfecting that vault for years, and we hoped she could stick one in competition and score that perfect 10. Her first vault was a safe scoring vault. We knew her score was good enough that she could try to nail the landing on the second one. And that she did.”

Days later, Cummings still was a bit mesmerized.

“It was an amazing moment in my coaching career,” she said. “To see everything that Natalie has worked so hard for come together, and for her to accomplish a perfect 10 was so amazing. It was so great to see her accomplish this.”

In the classroom, Moore, who set the state record on the vault last season, has a 4.23 GPA and will attend Fairmont State, where she plans to compete in the acrobatics and tumbling program.

Her coach said she should have no difficulty making the adjustment from gymnastics to acrobatics and tumbling in college.

“Natalie is easy going, hard working and a team player,” Cummings said. “She listens to everything we tell her and makes corrections right away.

“She’s a dedicated gymnast, always positive and always happy. She’s a great leader and her teammates look up to her. On top of the perfect 10, she set a new WPIAL record. What an accomplishment for a high school athlete.”

Moore’s second-place showing was her best-ever all-around finish at the WPIAL meet. Along with her vault score, she racked up a 9.25 on bars, 9.233 on beam and 8.7 on floor.

“I was pretty happy with my all-around performance,” said Moore, who also won the vault at last year’s WPIAL finals. “I started on bar and performed one of my best routines of the season. I couldn’t have been happier with my vault performance.

“I had a pretty solid beam (performance). Unfortunately, I fell during my floor routine, which put me out of the running for the all-around title.”

Moore plans to major in exercise science in college as the first step to becoming a physical therapist.

She has earned six individual WPIAL medals in her gymnastics career. She was a silver medalist on the vault in 2018. Last year, she won gold on vault and bronze in the all-around. This year, Moore reeled in gold on vault, bronze on bars and silver in the all-around.

“Vault is my best and favorite event,” she said, “so I couldn’t have asked for a better way to finish my last WPIAL championship.”

Samantha Alexander, a sophomore at Pine-Richland, captured the all-around title in the advanced division with a score of 37.65.

TJ senior Demi Kondos took first place on the beam (9.45) and floor exercise (9.55) and placed third in the all-around with a 37.05 score.

Kondos, like Moore, is a fourth-year gymnast for the Jaguars.

TJ’s Kamryn Kameg, a sophomore who was hampered by an injury last season, finished first in the gold division all-around scoring with a 35.9 mark. Kameg placed fourth on vault, sixth on bars, third on beam and fifth on floor.

Kaylee Rehak, another TJ sophomore, secured seventh place on the beam in the advanced competition.

Junior Erin Gruber placed second on the vault in the silver division.

Other TJ medalists were junior Anna Weber (beam, vault) and freshmen Mikayla Bilbie (bars, all-around) and Ella Costa (floor).

Senior Maria Costa, sophomore Sophia Stoicovy and freshman Jordan Sinclair also competed for the Jaguars.

Natalie Galioto, a senior fourth-year gymnast, was injured most of the season and did not have enough scores to compete at individuals.


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