East Bay Sports Academy girls gymnastics got off to a great start to their season in early September by attending The PINK Meet in Fremont. The meet is unique in that it donates a portion of their registration fees to Breast Cancer Awareness, and all the competitors are required to wear pink.
“Whatever we can do to reduce the pressure our girls feel while they compete, we will do it,” team coach Bailey Hopper said of EBSA choosing the PINK meet as its season-opener. “Even if it means wearing pink leotards to have some fun.”
The coaching team at EBSA combines for over 75 years of coaching experience, and includes Hopper, Cliff Parks, Michael Lynn, and Catie Davenport. They are committed to training gymnasts with focus for excellence, and within a stress-free environment where the girls are allowed to show their personality.
EBSA brought 19 gymnasts to the meet in USA Gymnastics Level 3, 4 and 5. Of those 19, it was the first competition experience for eight of them. Still, their Level 3 and 4 teams earned 2nd overall in the Team Competition.
“This is a unique year for for the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic competitive program,” Parks said. “Every eight years, on the Olympic cycle, USA Gymnastics updates the routines at the compulsory (beginning) levels and every gym now begins competition on the same page.
“Because EBSA has only been open for just over 3 years, we have had to play “catch-up” with some of the other competitive gyms in the area. This season, we look forward to watching our athletes compete on a level playing field with some of the more established gyms in the area.”
The Level 3 team was led by first-place performances from Anna Ravid who scored a 9.10 on Bars, Mary Siemons with a score of 9.0 on Floor, and Randi Marshall who doubled up for two first-place finishes on Vault (9.0) and Bars (8.95). The team score was also influenced by second-place event finishes from Sarah Young (Vault, 9.25), Ashley Gay (Bars, 8.95), and Alex Keppel (Beam, 8.45).
The Level 4 team competed with a slight advantage in experience, also coming home with second place. Two team leaders emerged, earning State Meet qualifying scores. Elisha Santos blew away her competition with a solid first place on Bars (9.15), and a third place in the All-Around. Teammate Riley Pellmen earned first place on Floor (9.075), second on Balance Beam (8.80), and third in the All-Around.
The Level 4 team also had a major score contribution Kate Mercer who finished second on Vault (8.55), third on Bars (9.00) and third on Floor (8.475). In their second competitive season with EBSA, Level 4 athletes Shalley Marshall brought home a second-place finish on Bars with an outstanding score of 9.0, and Savrinah Oliveros finished third on Balance Beam (8.625).
Level 5 gymnasts Hadas Hessler and Samantha Balesteri delivered such a strong meet that they scored above the All-Around maximum scores and qualified out of Level 5 for the season. They will now reset their focus to working hard to skip Level 6 and compete at Level 7.
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