Moon gymnasts capture PA Classic title
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After claiming first place at the Pennsylvania Classic competition Saturday, the Moon gymnastics team solidified its status as one of the dominant programs in recent memory in the WPIAL.
The victory in the Pennsylvania Classic, which serves as a de facto state championship since the PIAA does not sanction gymnastics, was Moon's third in as many seasons. During that stretch, the Tigers have also won three consecutive WPIAL titles on their way to compiling a cumulative record of 32-1.
Boasting a roster loaded with 21 gymnasts, including seven senior co-captains, Moon's triumphant 2013-14 season can be attributed to strong leadership and a supportive family atmosphere.
“With this group of girls, its about the closeness. They function like a family,” Moon coach Amy Caprino said. “That is what makes the girls want to be their best. They want to do the best that they can for one another.”
Rather then building the Moon gymnastics program on a foundation driven by winning, Caprino decided to focus on harvesting a constructive, supportive environment where her gymnasts can develop. This unique philosophy has produced an uncanny bond between the gymnasts. Evidently, the strategy has paid dividends in the gym as well.
“The girls set their own goals,” Caprino said. “Our philosophy has been, ‘Why not be an all-around good kid, who just happened to be a great athlete,' instead of being a kid who just happened to be a great athlete.”
Senior Megan Tamilia has been one of the leaders for Moon, and has embodied those ideals for her coach. The co-captain helped lead her team to victory Saturday, achieving a score of 9.417 in the floor event, good for third in the diamond division.
“Our team unity is really important,” Tamilia said. “Whenever you focus on other competitors or somebody else, that's how you lose it. We keep each other focused on what we have to do.”
Tamilia's fellow co-captain, Holly Zucchero, also played a major role for the Tigers in Saturday's win. The senior placed second on the floor event, scoring a 9.5, and claimed third on the beam with a 9.2.
Zucchero remembers the time her teammates picked her up when she needed it.
“The day before WPIALs this season, I sprained my ankle,” Zucchero said. “I decided to push through it and compete anyway. But by the time we got to the floor event and it was my turn, I was in a lot of pain. My ankle was killing me. My teammates could see that. Right when I started my routine, I heard all of my teammates cheering me on from all different corners of the gym. I was in awe. I couldn't even hear my floor music. I could just hear my teammates screaming for me. They pushed me through it.”
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.
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