Young Pine-Richland gymnast Lavezoli quickly developing into standout

Saturday, April 24, 2021 | 11:01 AM

A few years ago Chase Lavezoli taught himself how to do a front flip by using a trampoline.

The curiosity that came from that experience sparked a fast track to becoming one of the top young male gymnasts in the region.

Lavezoli, an eighth grader at Pine-Richland, won the all-around title April 9 in the 11-14-year-old division at the Region 7 Gymnastics Championship at Liberty Bell Athletics in Harleysville.

It was a dominant day for Lavezoli. He won four of six events — floor, pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar — to best the 15-person field from multiple states in the Mid-Atlantic and Eastern regions. He finished 2.2 points ahead of his closest competitor with a score of 67.1. He accomplished the feat in just his third year of competition.

“At the other meets I did very well this year, so I felt confident that I would do well, but I didn’t expect to win because regionals is a pretty large meet,” Lavezoli said.

Lavezoli’s interest in gymnastics started with the aforementioned trampoline, where he tinkered with different techniques.

“I just liked to mess around and when something started to work I just struck with it,” he said. “It just kind of came natural to me.”

Aside from mastering flips on a trampoline, another factor in Lavezoli’s interest for gymnastics came from watching his younger sister, Myla, compete.

“When I watched her I said to myself, ‘Wow that looks kind of fun,’ “ Lavezoli said. “By that point I had taught myself how to do a front flip. I started taking some recreational gymnastics classes. I did those for a little bit while I was playing basketball in school. I didn’t make the basketball team one year, so I decided to go all in for gymnastics.”

The choice to focus on gymnastics has proven to be a fruitful one.

Lavezoli has qualified for Regionals each of the last three years, but the 2020 meet was canceled because of the covid-19 pandemic. He credited his coaches at Jewart’s Gymnastics, Jeff Malone, Fran Fennell, and Chris Pechar, with helping him achieve success.

In his four event wins at Regionals he scored 12 on floor, 10.9 on pommel horse, 11.6 on parallel bars and 11.2 on high bar. He also had a seventh-place finish on rings and was 12th on vault.

“I would say floor and high bar are my best events, because I’m the most consistent with them, and I have my hardest skills on them,” Lavezoli said. “On floor, my specialty is twisting. That’s when you flip and are able to twist on the second axis. You flip around one axis and then twist on the other at the same time.”

Getting a gold medal at Regionals is what Lavezoli hopes is the opening chapter to a long career in a sport for which he has developed a passion.

“I really enjoy it,” Lavezoli said, with an emphasis on really. “This summer, I plan on training to become a Level 10, which is as high as you can get. Once I get there, I hope to get to Nationals at some point and just keep going to become as good as I can. Hopefully, I can do gymnastics in college. I want to continue as long as I can.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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