Monday, February 8, 2016

Local gymnasts take flight into new season

By Raphael Sugarman
Osjua A. Newton/The Riverdale Press
Athena Buckley, 17, from Bronx High School of Science, works the uneven parallel bars on Jan. 4.
Osjua A. Newton/The Riverdale Press
Christine Carr, 17, a John F. Kennedy High School senior, jumps over the vault at a competition at Bronx High School of Science on Jan 4.
Osjua A. Newton/The Riverdale Press
Martina Cox, a 17-year-old Bronx High School of Science student, begins her floor exercise routine in a competition against DeWitt Clinton on Jan. 4.

Three athletes — each with different reasons for getting involved in gymnastics — competed at Bronx Science on Jan. 4 in the first match of the season.

Shanti Kumar, a Riverdale resident and senior at the Bronx High School of Science, has been practicing gymnastics for more than a decade. 

Ashleigh Dempster, a junior at DeWitt Clinton, was motivated to become a gymnast after watching Shawn Johnson and Gabby Douglas garner Olympic medals for the U.S.A.

Kennedy Campus sophomore Martia Means wanted to try the tough sport, but found it easier than she expected.

The Lady Knights were dressed in shimmering crimson tights; the Lady Governors wore their traditional black, with swirls of red, suggesting a Clinton “C”; and the Wolverines wore warm-up jackets embossed with the taunt, “Don’t call it gymnicetics.”

Though their gymnasts were doing their routines in the same gym and at the same time, only DeWitt Clinton was formally competing against both of its opponents. 

The Lady Governors lost to Bronx Science, 91.85 to 83.3 but were victorious over Kennedy, 80.80 to 59.35.

In the Clinton versus Bronx Science match, Martina Cox of Science won all four of the events — the balance beam, floor exercise, uneven parallel bars and vaulting. 

“I was happy with the way I did,” a modest Cox said after the match, “especially since I was a little under the weather.”

Athena Buckley of Science was second on the beam, Shanti Kumar of Science was third, and Clinton’s Dania De Leon was fourth. 

In the floor exercise, Ashleigh Dempster of Clinton was second to Cox, followed by Antonelle Melbourne of the Lady Governors and Athena Buckley of Science. 

On the parallel bars, Dempster was second, followed by Marya Friedman of the Lady Governors and Buckley of the Wolverines. 

Cox was again tops in vaulting, followed by teammate Cheyenne Delsavio, Clinton’s Dempster and Kumar of Bronx Science. 

“I thought I did wonderfully, but my scores weren’t as good as I thought they would be, but that usually happens,” Kumar joked after the match. 

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