Local gymnasts recognized in competition


LOCAL GYMNASTS on level 9 and 10 include, from left: Adeline Rieder, Mackenzie Black, Calista Marzolino (middle), Grace Amico (top middle), Emma Firmstone (bottom), Julia Firmstone (right middle), Tayler Osterhout (top right).

Gymnasts from the United State Sports Academy, located in Dunmore, have received new awards. Ten-year- old Level 4 gymnast, Maura Michalczyk, recently competed in the Springtime Meltdown and took home first place on Vault, Balance Beam, Floor and All Around.

Level 10 gymnast, 16-year-old Mackenzie Black, had two more winning competitions.The first one was the Heartland Spring Classic where she won first place on Floor, Vault and All Around as well as third place on Balance Beam. Mackenzie and her teammate, Emma Firmstone, both made it to the event finals in which they only take the top six scores of all ages and competed against 59 other level 10 girls. At the event finals, Mackenzie came in first place on Vault, second on Floor, and sixth on Beam.

Mackenzie just competed in the Level 10 State Championship and finished first on Vault and third place All Around. In two weeks she will be competing in Regionals at Virginia Beach.

The academy’s Tumble Team State Champions include: Veronica Matthies and Monica Fonaszewski – Level 5, Leslie Major – Level 6, Madelynn Perfilio -Level 7.

Level 5 girls have been undefeated this season and won the First Place Team Award at States. Cara Martinez became the Level 5 All Around State Champion and finished first on Vault, first on Beam, first on Floor, second  on Bars. Luciana Toczdlowski became the Level 5 Floor champion and also came in second place on Beam and second All Around. Camryn Thomas became the Level 5 Bars Champion and tied for second place on Vault and third All Around.

Anna Clifton  is Level 8 Vault State Champion. Donna Howell  is Level 9 All Around State Champion as well as first place on Bars, third on Vault and first on Beam.

Other champions at States were: Anna Clifton – Level 8 Vault State Champion;  Donna Howell – Level 9 All Around State Champion as well as first place on Bars, third on Vault and first on Beam; Emma Firmstone and Mackenzie Black – Level 10 State Champions. Emma came in second place All Around and won first place on Beam (Beam Champion). Mackenzie came in third Place AA and first place on Vault (Vault Champion)

Attending Regionals will be: Tumble Team: Julia – Level 4, MaryGrace Sabatini – Level 4, Isabel Barcia – Level 4, Annabell Begley – Level 4, Maddie Mucha – Level 4, Veronica Matthies – Level 5, Monica Fonaszewski – Level 5, Leslie Major – Level 6, Madelynn Perfilio -Level 7.

Also, Level 8: Anna Clifton, Amelia Rieder; Level 9: Emma Kelly, Gianna Sabatini, Donna Howell, Calista Marzolino, Julia Firmstone; Level 10: Emma Firmstone, Mackenzie Black, Tayler Osterhout.


Dunmorean of the Month: Mackenzie Black

By Steve Svetovich


Mackenzie Black, center, stands on top of the podium during a national gymnastics competition in Des Moines, Iowa. (Courtesy: Mackenzie Black)

Dunmore High School freshman Mackenzie Black, 15, finished in sixth place among over 500 who competed in National gymnastics in Des Moines, Iowa last month.

Daughter of Shanette Black and Thomas Nolan, Dunmore, Mackenzie is a member of United Sports Academy, Dunmore, where she practices gymnastics six days a week. United Sports Academy is run by Dima Raynova, one of Mackenzie’s instructors.

Mackenzie finished first place in vault, third place in floor and sixth place overall in Des Moines, Iowa.

The United Sports Academy level 10 gymnast, first competed in Regional gymnastics in Allentown in April before moving on to Nationals in May. She competed against the best gymnasts in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia and Delaware.

She earned a medal in the vault with a score of 9.71 in Regionals.
The top six from each group were selected to go to Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa to compete against the very best in the country. And that is where Mackenzie stood out and shined again. Finishing sixth in the country was a major accomplishment.

“It was very exciting,” she said. “I really enjoyed the competition.”

Mackenzie talked about what it takes to excel as a gymnast. “The main thing is that it takes a lot of dedication. It takes a long time and a lot of work and dedication to be good. You have to really want it.”

The talented gymnast is an honor roll student at Dunmore. Her best subject is science.

“I practice at United Sports Academy almost every day, six days a week,” she said. “I have several instructors and they are all really great.”

Mackenzie said she does not have a lot of time for other activities due to her gymnastics schedule. However, she would like to run on the Dunmore track and field team next year.

She enjoys music and would like to see Five Seconds of Summer in concert.
Mackenzie, soft spoken and polite, talked about her future goals. “I definitely want to go to Nationals again. I want to compete in gymnastics when I am in college. I would like to major in nutrition in college and possibly become a dietician. Someday, I would like to come back and teach gymnastics. That would be nice.”

Mackenzie has been practicing gymnastics for almost 10 years and right now her dedication is through the roof.

It is a sure bet Mackenzie will be a big part of local, regional and national gymnastics competition in the next several years.