Moon gymnasts use team depth to capture second straight WPIAL title
It was nearly a clean sweep for the Moon gymnastics team at Saturday's WPIAL championships.
Not only did the team win its second consecutive championship, but Tigers gymnasts won two of the three all-around titles in the individual classifications.
Senior Sarah Haslett claimed the all-around crown in the highest classification (Advanced) with a score of 37.800 while teammate Leah Hogle won in the second division (Intermediate I) with a mark of 35.958.
“We had four competing seniors,” Moon head 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's all-around championship was highlighted by her first-place finish in the vault (9.500) and her second place finish on the floor (9.500) while finishing third on both the bars and the balance beam.
For Haslett, it was only her first season competing with Moon after previously participating solely in club gymnastics.
“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.
But for her senior year, she wanted the chance to be able to compete in the same arena among some of her high school peers.
“A lot of my friends do (high school gymnastics), and I kind of wanted to do it for my school for my one last hurrah,” Haslett said.
Hogle and her Tigers teammates turned in several impressive performances in the Intermediate I division. Hogle won the vault (9.233) and the bars (9.050) en route to her all-around championship, while Sunny Smolarek finished just behind Hogle in second overall (35.025) and finished second on the floor (9.125). Jessica Schreiber took home the title on the balance beam with a score of 9.300.
Moon's vast team depth was showcased by the individual results, and Caprino keeps her entire team ready by not revealing the lineup until the day of competition.
“Going into the day, none of the girls knew who was in the team lineup,” Caprino said. “I never tell them, that way they get to enjoy the day and they're always functioning as a team.”
While no Tigers gymnast won the Intermediate II division crown, Moon's Victoria Priola finished in second overall (33.367) and won first place on the balance beam with a mark of 8.550. Moon's Emily Mattioli finished second on the balance beam with a score of 8.375.
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.