Kerin Spadaro never breaks a sweat.
When the Bay Shore / Islip gymnast competed for the third time in the state championships as a freshman, placing fifth on the uneven bars, her palms weren’t sweaty.
When she went toe-to-toe with former top Suffolk gymnast, Half Hollow Hills’ Nicole Jackson, at the county championship and state qualifier, beating her on bars both times, her knees weren’t weak and her arms weren’t heavy.
Spadaro, now a sophomore at Islip, is always calm and ready. This year, she'll aim for the No. 1 all-around spot in the county, even while battling back from ankle injury suffered during the summer.
“Each year, I have a different level of confidence,” Spadaro said. “Before every meet, I stay calm and try to make my teammates comfortable. I’ll be captain again this year and I’m learning to be more of a leader.”
Spadaro has the experience and the expertise. She started gymnastics at 5-years-old and joined the combined Bay Shore/Islip varsity team as a seventh grader. It's been an uphill tumbled ever since.
“Kerin is as cool as a cucumber,” coach Robin Harper said. “She doesn’t get stressed out about anything. Kerin knows what is expected of her… being young doesn’t affect her too much.”
It doesn’t seem to affect Spadaro at all. Spadaro secured a spot on the state team her first varsity year as a floor exercise specialist.
For the last two years, she was a member of the all-around state team. In 2017, she placed third on the uneven bars and 17th in the all-around.
Last year, Spadaro was named captain and was undefeated in the all-around during the regular season. At states, she also placed 12th in the all-around.
“Kerin’s progressed athletically and has become a true leader on the team,” Harper said. “She’s a great teammate. She roots for everyone and I think that is a tremendous quality to have, especially for someone her age.”
Because of the injury to her left ankle, Spadaro is starting the season off cautiously. She's in physical therapy and cryotherapy,
She isn’t sweating it. During the regular season, Spadaro will start on bars, her favorite event. Eventually, she hopes to vault her way back to an all-around spot in the county and state championship.
“Swinging on the bars is calming,” Spadaro said. “Even though I am recovering, I still want to win counties. I want to make my way back to being completely healthy and win states. I want to work my way to the top. I think it’ll be really cool to be young and accomplish that.”
GYMNASTS TO WATCH
Sarah Moussa, Connetquot, Soph: Moussa is also returning from an injury, a broken finger, but it won’t hinder the top competitor from improving on her freshman season. She competed as an all-arounder at the state championship and placed 12th on beam.
Haylie Kelly, Babylon, Soph: Last season was Kelly’s second year on the state team, this time as an all-arounder. Look for her on the floor, which is her best event.
Bella Kelly, Babylon, Soph: Like her twin Haylie, Bella is also a floor specialist. She made the state team on floor for the first time.