Carle Place sophomore Joanna Signorile didn’t know what she was walking into at her first Nassau gymnastics championship, and in the end, it didn’t matter.
The first-year high school gymnast won three events and clinched the all-around with a 36.9 score to clinch the Nassau individual championship at the county state qualifier meet Tuesday at Great Neck South.
“I’ve been doing gymnastics, but it’s my first year on the high school team and I was not expecting this,” Signorile said.
The sophomore won vault with a 9.27, uneven bars with a 9.2 and balance beam with a 9.4. There wasn’t any secret to her immediate success, just determination and persistence.
“My coaches really helped me this year, my teammates have been so supportive, and I just worked hard,” Signorile said.
Signorile had some apprehension about facing unfamiliar competition from Nassau I after a successful season in Nassau II, but she made the fans take notice. She wrapped up her winning performance on the bars, sticking her landing as the crowd roared.
“I’ve been winning the meets during the year in my conference and I wasn’t sure how it would go with the conference I teams also, but I was doing well for myself so I was confident it was a good meet,” she said.
Massapequa’s Gillian Murphy won the floor exercise with a 9.3 and grabbed the all-around’s second spot with a 35.8. She took second on vault (9.15) and beam (9.3). Unlike Signorile, this was her third qualifier and she knew what to expect. It helped to have nine teammates from the undefeated Chiefs to keep the atmosphere familiar.
“The thing about our team is that there are so many of us and we all try so hard,” Murphy said.
Murphy is one of 14 gymnasts qualified for the state meet at Cold Spring Harbor on March 4. She’s looking to improve on last year’s 11th-place mark and do it in front of family and friends. “This year it would be nice to crack top 10,” she said.
The meet was missing one of Nassau’s biggest stars. Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK’s Miranda Lund suffered a torn UCL when she fell from the uneven bars during a warmup Jan. 18. She underwent Tommy John surgery on Jan. 31. The defending all-around state champion was there to root on her teammates and friends from across Nassau while she waits to begin her recovery program.
“I like cheering for them,” Lund said. “I wish I could be out there, too, competing, but I can’t.”
Wantagh’s Reegan Henry, a seventh-grader from Wantagh Middle School, placed third in the all-around with a 33.7. Plainview’s Renee Vulin placed second on bars with an 8.5. Long Beach’s Rivers Cunningham took third on the floor exercise (9.125).
The 14 state qualifiers are: Signorile, Murphy, Henry, Lexi Kessler, Alex Mastrototaro, Kaylei McDonald, Renee Vulin, Christelle Lewis, Katie Poscillico, Heidi Baldinger, Rivers Cunningham, Daniella Limpert and Elizabeth Murphy.
With the state meet being local, the gymnasts won’t have to go through the travel usually required. But don’t remind Gillian Murphy.
“I kind of like the bus ride,” she said.