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Using complete team effort, Moon gymnasts celebrate 3rd straight WPIAL title

| Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Winning a WPIAL team gymnastics title is nothing new for Moon. But Saturday's win, the Tigers' third consecutive, was a bit different.

Moon was able to edge rival North Allegheny by a cumulative team score of 145.825 to 145.200. There are four competitive disciplines in gymnastics, the bars, vault, floor and beam. Prior to each competition, each team selects five competitors for each event and the top four go toward the total team score.

Unlike last year when star Sarah Haslett finished in the top three of each discipline in the advanced division, the Tigers did not have a dominant performer and, in fact, did not take first in any of the individual events in the advanced division.

“We do everything by team,” Moon coach Amy Caprino said. “We don't make it about any one person; it's about all of them.”

In the advanced division, Megan Tamilia placed second all-around for the champs with a score of 37.525, which included second place in the floor (9.625) and third in the beam (9.400).

Freshman Mackenzie Kraft dominated the lower Intermediate I division. She won the floor (9.525) and vault (9.300), and took second in the bars (8.650) and third in the beam (8.925) en route to the all-around title (36.400).

In the Intermediate II division, Megan Meneskie won the vault (9.300) and took third in the beam (8.775), while teammate Beth Eberts won the floor (8.975).

It was North Allegheny that provided the firepower in the advanced division in the form of all-around winner Danijela Jergan (37.900). The junior won the floor with a season-best 9.725 and finished third in both the vault (9.500) and bars (9.450).

“I'm pretty strong on all the events,” Jergan said. “I just had to be mentally prepared and I thought I could hit all four events, so I did.”

Jergan's teammate Leah Elmore was third all-around (37.700).

The loss was another close one for North Allegheny, which suffered a razor-thin loss to undefeated Moon for their only regular-season blemish. Coach Andrea Arlotta said that in a judged sport like gymnastics it's hard to predict the end result.

“I felt like (North Allegheny) did the better technical gymnastics (Saturday), and that's really where it hurts the most for me,” Arlotta said. “I couldn't be happier with the girls. They did everything that I asked them to do all season.”

The PIAA does not sanction gymnastics, but Moon will compete for the sport's version of a state title at Saturday's Pennsylvania Classic held at Moon Middle School.

Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.

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