Keating’s gesture exhibits patriotism


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VIRGINIA BEACH — Courtney Keating’s gold medals from the Excalibur Cup international gymnastics meet were tinted in shades of red, white and blue.

Keating won five medals in the Level 7 competition last weekend, including three golds, but she plans to keep only four. The all-around medal is headed overseas — a gift to American soldiers in the Persian Gulf.

A 9-year-old member of the Capital Gymnastics National Training Center team, Keating scored a 37.25 to capture the top prize in the 7-10 age division. Keating, from Manassas, won the balance beam (9.5) and vault (9.35) competitions, placed second on uneven bars (9.05) and was third on the floor exercise (9.35).

In a meet that featured gymnasts from the U.S., Canada, Costa Rica, Chili and Puerto Rico, Capital earned a team score of 215.0 and finished second behind host Excalibur. New England Gymnastics Academy took third place, Gymstrada was fourth and Parkettes fifth.

Kristin Blades, 11, of Woodbridge, also contributed medal-winning performances to Capital’s team score. A Level 7 competitor in the 11-13 age division, she scored a 37.45 in the all-around and finished second behind teammate Sylvie Borschel. Blades won a silver medal on uneven bars (9.325) and a bronze on the balance beam (9.4). She placed fifth on floor (9.45) and sixth on vault (9.275).

Two Capital gymnasts — Forest Park sophomore Nicole Blades and Forest Park junior Valerie Ierley — finished among the top 6 in the Level 9 senior competition.

Blades won the all-around silver medal with a score of 36.025 and captured individual gold medals on the uneven bars (9.175) and balance beam (9.4). Ierley, competing in her second Level 9 meet with Capital, scored a personal-best 35.0 to place sixth out of 29 gymnasts in the senior division. She earned 9.0s on vault and floor exercise.

Forest Park’s Elisa Rhynedance competed in three events in the Level 9 senior division despite coming down with a high fever the day before the meet. She placed fifth on the uneven bars, but had to scratch her final event of the competition — balance beam — because of illness.



Hannah Brady qualified for the Level 6 state gymnastics meet with a first-place performance at the season’s initial sectional competition, held last weekend in Virginia Beach.

Brady scored a 36.175 in the all-around to lead a team of five Novaks gymnasts. Medals were not awarded on individual events, but she finished first on the uneven bars (9.225), second on vault (9.05) and fifth on floor (9.025) and balance beam (8.8).

The Level 6 sectional competition featured 24 gymnasts ranging in age from 7-15. Novaks gymnasts claimed three of the top four all-around scores with Lauren Mattos placing third (35.825) and Tameka Scott fourth (35.10).

Shelby Lemons scored 33.475 points to finish 12th and Jessica Mackey was 13th overall with a 34.425.

All five competitors earned a berth in the state competition, scheduled for March 29 in Arlington.

Novaks also advanced six gymnasts to the Level 5 state meet. Out of a field of 86 competitors ranging in age from 7 to 15, the outstanding sectional meet performers included Shelby Osborne (36.1), Jacqueline Lindeman (35.55), Michelle Sapinoso (35.125), Brooke Parker (34.8), Hana Stalik (34.55), and Brianna Artz (34.0).



The Novaks Gymnastics Center sports acrobatic team opened the season by winning six gold medals at the Presidents Cup competition last weekend in Dumfries.

With overall scores based on results in tempo and balance, Novaks dominated every level from 6 through 10. The Level 10 women’s pair of Pam Baker and Courtney Morgan were first in the 14-17 age group, scoring a 22.29 overall — 10.0 for tempo and 12.29 for balance.

In Level 9, Tara Van Zummeran and Kayla Berlin won the 14-17 age group with a 17.95 in tempo and 18.7 in balance for a combined score of 36.65.

Novaks claimed two medals in Level 8, both in trio competition. Courtney Wardell, Sarah Brady and Robbie Clark won the women’s 11-13 division, while Ilana Cephas, Cierra Dobson and Eliza Cephas were second in the 14-17 age group.

Level 7 pairs claimed two gold medals with the Novaks team of Amanda Chiocchio and Naomi Smith winning women’s pairs and Nicholas Martinez and Kayla Rivers capturing mixed pairs.

Also winning gold was the Level 6 women’s trio of Caitlin McCartney, Allison Kicos and Emma Johnson.

Two golds for NOVAKS


Following a gold medal performance at the Presidents Cup, the Novaks Level 8 women’s trio of Courtney Wardell, Sarah Brady and Robbie Clark captured another championship on Sunday at the ECAG March Invitational in Columbia. MD.

The Novaks trio scored a 16.7 to win the 11-13 age division, while Ilana Cephas, Cierra Dodson and Eliza Cephas earned a silver medal in the 14-17 division.

In Level 7, the women’s pair of Amanda Chiocchia and Naomi Smith won the 11-13 age group with a first-place score of 14.0.

Novaks also brought home a silver in Level 6, with Caitlin McCartney, Allison Kicos and Emma Johnson taking second place in the 11-13 women’s trio competition.

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