Local gymnasts shine at Buckeye Classic

Gymnasts from Freehold, Howell and Jackson traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to compete in the 2006 DSW Buckeye Classic gymnastic meet, which was held at the Ohio State Fairgrounds.

The girls competed for Jonas Gymnastics Academy located in Morganville. This was the 23rd year that the meet has been held and the competition consisted of Levels 4-10/Open. Over the years, the Buckeye Classic has grown to be one of the largest women’s gymnastics competitions and is also regarded as one of the premier gymnastics invitational events in the United States.

Brianna Acacia and Carli Fargione, both of Jackson, competed in the Level 5 competition. Brianna, a 7-year-old, came in second place on the uneven bars with a score of 8.85, fourth place on the vault with a score of 8.3, and fifth place on the floor exercise with a score of 8.45. She scored an 8.0 on the balance beam en route to a fourth-place finish in the all-around competition with a score of 33.6.

Carli Fargione, an 8-year-old, scored 7.6 on the vault, 7.7 on the bars and 8.0 on the floor exercise. She scored her first 9.0 on the beam for third place en route to an all-around score of 32.3. The girls competed in the 7-8-age category. They will be competing next in the N.J. State Sectional on March 5 at Atlantic Coast Gymnastics, Sewell.

Casie Smith of Howell, Kelsey Healy of Jackson, and Holly Gaither of Freehold competed in the Level 7 competition. Casie scored 7.8 on the vault, 7.75 on the beam and 8.850 on the floor exercise. She earned seventh place on the uneven bars with a score of 8.4 en route to an all-around score of 33.6. Casie competed in the 11U age category. Kelsey Healy earned a score of 8.825 on vault, 8.275 on the uneven bars, 8.050 on the balance beam and 9.0 on the floor exercise en route to an all-around score of 34.150. Kelsey competed in the 12-year-old category. Holly Gaither scored 8.55 on the vault, 8.25 on the uneven bars, 7.9 on the balance beam and 8.35 on the floor exercise for an all-around score of 33.05. Holly competed in the 13-and-up age group.

Alexis Mandato competed in the Level 8 competition. She scored 7.85 on the vault, 6.95 on the uneven bars and 8.30 on the floor exercise. Alexis earned fourth place on the balance beam with a score of 8.9 en route to an all-around score of 31.975.

Kaitlyn Reskowski, Freehold, competed in the level 9 competition and Andrea Deitoro, Howell, competed in the Level 10 competition

In addition to the competition itself, the girls participated in the march-in ceremony, which is touted as the largest gymnastic march-in ceremony in the world. On Feb. 18, over 1,800 gymnasts dressed in team warmups, representing 18 states and Canada participated in a staged march-in. This spectacular event, with music, balloons and much more, electrified the crowd. John Macready, a USA gymnastics senior national team member from 1993-2000 and a member of the 1996 Olympic team, congratulated the girls on their participation and performed for the crowd.