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Moon gymnasts pile up victories at WPIALs

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By Alex Oltmanns
Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, 7:45 p.m.

Any nerves Sarah Haslett may have had while competing in her first WPIAL gymnastics championships didn't show Saturday at Moon Area High School.

The senior from Moon, competing in her first season with the team, unseated three-time defending champion Kelly Burak of Hopewell for the advanced all-around title with a score of 37.800.

“This is my first year doing WPIAL gymnastics, and it was awesome to win the all-around in my first real WPIAL meet,” Haslett said.

Haslett's teammate, Leah Hogle, claimed the individual crown in the second tier of competition (Intermediate I) with a score of 35.958. Haslett and Hogle propelled Moon to its second consecutive WPIAL championship.

Haslett claimed first place in the vault (9.500) and second on the floor (9.500), while finishing third on both the bars (9.500) and balance beam (9.300). Hogle was first in the vault (9.233) and bars (9.050), while finishing sixth on the balance beam (8.825) and ninth in the floor exercise (8.850).

Hogle and her Moon teammates dominated the Intermediate I division. Sunny Smolarek finished second overall with a mark of 35.025, while Jessica Schreiber claimed first on balance beam (9.300).

“We had four competing seniors,” Moon coach Amy Caprino said. “Our fifth was one of our managers, so this was good for them because they all wanted to finish with another title.”

Haslett, who had competed solely in club gymnastics prior to this season, was able to edge Burak, who finished first on the bars (9.700) and balance beam (9.575) to finish with a score of 37.592 in the advanced division.

Ford City's Courtney Batiz won the advanced floor event (9.600).

Despite being her primary competition, Haslett was happy to see Burak win two events.

“Me and Kelly did club gymnastics together when we were younger, and I was rooting for her,” Haslett said.

Ringgold's Emma Lucas won the third and final tier's (Intermediate II) all-around title, the only all-around crown not won by a Moon gymnast. Lucas' overall score was highlighted by a first-place finish on the bars (8.400). Moon's Victoria Priola (33.367) finished second in the all-around standings after finishing first on the balance beam (8.550).

Moon's winning team score of 146.492 was followed by Baldwin's (140.099) and Hopewell's (126.298).

Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer .

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