It was an all-around uplifting day at Cold Spring Harbor High School, as the Cartwheels for a Cure gymnastics meet produced plenty of memorable moments.
Eight schools participated in the event Monday, and each gymnast had to fundraise before the meet, which helped raise thousands of dollars for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
When it started, they received an important message from Cold Spring Harbor coach Teri Kindelmann’s 6-year-old daughter, Matison. She and her 4-year-old sister, Charlotte, have cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs and other organs. Matison took to the microphone and thanked the gymnasts.
“It’s truly something very special to me and this year that my daughter was able to speak and thank the girls,” Kindelmann said. “I know my girls on the team were almost in tears just to be able to hear them.”
Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK’s Miranda Lund won the all-around with a 36.8. “It definitely means a lot knowing we’re doing something,” said Lund, who got familiar with the Cold Spring Harbor gym, site of this year’s state championships.
Lund also took first in the vault (9.1), uneven bars (9.35) and floor exercise (9.35). Teammate Renee Vulin won the balance beam with a 9.2. Massapequa’s Gillian Murphy came in second for all-around with a 35.6 and the Chiefs won the team result with a 167.05.
The meet has grown from two teams three years ago to eight teams. Last year, with five teams present, the event raised $6,000. This year, it was expected to reach close to $10,000.
“Our season is always so intense, and this is just something to give the girls something to look forward to,” Kindelmann said.
Matison and Charlotte have spent some time with the Cold Spring Harbor team and hung around with the gymnasts during the competition. It made the fundraising even more special to the athletes.
“Sometimes if you don’t know people, you’re not really sure what you’re raising it for, but when you have a connection with them, it means a lot more,” said Lily Hetherington, a Cold Spring Harbor eighth-grader.
After the competition, the teams gathered together and did cartwheels for three minutes. In the middle of the excitement were Matison and Charlotte, reminding the gymnasts one more time about the difference they were trying to make.