YMCA Gymcats wrap up successful season

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The YMCA Gymcats at a recent championship

The YMCA of Greater Brandywine’s gymnastics team, the Gymcats, who train at the Oscar Lasko YMCA in West Chester, capped off a strong competitive year with a lot of success at the League, State and National Championships.

“This has been one of the best seasons,” says Megan Hartman, Head Gymnastics Coach for the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. “All our levels placed first or second in the team All-Around at both the League and State Championships. I am so proud of this group!”

In addition to the team successes, there were several notable individual performances, particularly at Nationals, held in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, including one by the lone senior of the group, Carla Gagliardi. Gagliardi, a Gymcat veteran of 14 years, stuck her balance beam routine and finished third in the nation to cap off her gymnastics career at the Y.

The lone level 9 gymnast, Karis Demi, a 13-year Gymcat, was named an All-American, meaning out of all the competitors nationwide, she ranked in the top eight. Demi is only the second Gymcat to ever achieve All-American status, the other was Hayley Watters in 2015 and 2016.

Kristen Cuskey led the rest of the pack, finishing in first place in the country in the All-Around at level six with Reese Paterno (level six) and Cate Constable (level seven) both finishing second in the nation in that category.

The Gymcats program, housed at the Oscar Lasko YMCA on Chestnut Street in West Chester, has grown tremendously since they began in 1982. As they enter their 37th season, Hartman is happy to announce that the team for the 2019-20 season will be made up of 76 talented gymnasts!

“We have been part of the gymnastics program at the Y for 10 years,” says parent Laura Loeper. “Both of our daughters are on the competitive team and love it. They have made amazing friends and have been coached by the best!”

“The coaches focus not only on developing gymnastics skills,” she continues, “But also on building confidence and encouraging the girls to always do their best. My husband and I couldn’t be happier with the program and appreciate all that our coaches do for the girls.”

In addition to the competitive team for levels 3-9, the gymnastics program at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine offers recreational, introductory and progressive gymnastic classes for kids of all ages and abilities, so they can learn and develop balance, flexibility, strength and tumbling skills on age-appropriate equipment in a fun, open environment.

Looking to next year, the National Championships will be held in Long Beach, California, but prior to that, in March of 2020, the Oscar Lasko YMCA will be hosting the League Championships. “It is very exciting to host such a big event,” says Hartman. “It will really give us a chance to showcase the gymnastic abilities of our team. I think our community will be pleasantly surprised by how exceptionally talented our athletes are and how well they portray the Y’s core beliefs!”

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