South Xtra: Baldwin twosome shines at meet
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A young Baldwin High School team rode the strength of two individual all-around championship performances to finish third in the team standings with 137.675 points at last Saturday's WPIAL gymnastics championships at Moon Area High School.
Moon snapped North Allegheny's three-year winning streak to take the team championship with 146.675 points. North Allegheny wound up second with 144.80 points.
Baldwin's performance was all the more impressive, considering the Highlanders did not field a single girl in the Advanced Division, which numbered just 13 competitors.
"We're very happy," Baldwin coach Jodi Cummings said. "The girls did the best they could do. We have some improvements to make for next week with the state competition, but I think this will be a good week, and I look forward to what next week will bring."
Future seasons look promising for Baldwin. Josie Karabinos and Cassie Fischer figure to be back for three more years after turning in stellar displays as freshmen on Saturday at their first WPIAL championships.
Karabinos won the all-around title in the Intermediate I division with 36.288 points. Fischer, who battled a stomach ailment during the meet, won the Intermediate II title with 33.825 points. It was her best score in a meet this season.
"Honestly, we look forward to what the future has for us," Cummings said. "We have a lot of strong gymnasts. We have 10 girls on the team this year, and we're looking to add a couple of freshmen next year. I think we can only get stronger. We have a young team, but they're strong, and we look forward to good things."
Karabinos had hoped to do well, but an all-around title was an unexpected surprise.
"It's my first time [in the WPIAL championship meet], and it was just shocking," she said. "My coach always says, 'Slow and steady wins the race.' I've been doing gymnastics for 11 years. I'm really excited."
The slow and steady approach worked well for Karabinos, whose only individual title occurred in the floor exercise, in which she scored 9.475 points. She placed eighth in the vault (9.10), second in the uneven bars (9.05) and seventh in the balance beam (8.75).
Fischer's victory yielded no individual title, but she had two superb performances in the balance beam and the floor exercise, placing second and third, respectively, with efforts worth 8.425 and 8.725 points. She finished 12th in the vault (8.625) and eighth in the uneven bars (8.05).
"My team really cheered me on and cheered me up and helped me get through it," Fischer said.
Her favorite event is the floor exercise because she likes dancing and tumbling. She vows to work on the other disciplines, which present a challenge.
"I have to work harder on the [uneven] bars," she said. "I'm going to work on my giant [swings], which is the handstand on the upper bar and you swing around. I'm more comfortable with the vault and the balance beam, but not as much as I am with the floor [exercise]."
Of the south suburban schools, Baldwin fielded the only full team at the meet, but individuals from area proved schools noteworthy.
Thomas Jefferson's Megan Vanwormer won the Intermediate II title in the vault with 8.975 points, and Upper St. Clair's Anna Rosati took the Intermediate II championship in the floor exercise with 8.775 points. Rosati also placed sixth in the vault (8.775 points).
Hallie Perozich of South Allegheny was sixth in the Division II floor exercise (8.625 points).
Several teams that competed last weekend will return to Moon on Friday and Saturday for the Pennsylvania Classic High School Gymnastics Championships. Since the PIAA does not sanction a state championship for gymnastics, this event is held in lieu of a state championship event.
Meet director Amy Caprino, the Moon Area coach, said 14 teams will be competing. Schools from the WPIAL that will participate are Baldwin, Hopewell, Central Valley, Montour and Moon Area.
Bronze-level championships take place at 6 p.m. Friday, with the Silver and Gold level championships taking place at 9:30 a.m. and 3:40 p.m., respectively, on Saturday.
First Published February 16, 2012 12:00 am