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Cydney Crasa wins gold in beam for Ward Melville at state gymnastics

Cydney Crasa dismounts off the balance beam during

Cydney Crasa dismounts off the balance beam during the NYSPHSAA girls gymnastics championships held at SUNY Brockport on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Credit: Adrian Kraus

BROCKPORT, N.Y. - In the span of her four years on varsity, Cydney Crasa has sometimes pointed to her eyes and then back at the judges either before or during her beam and floor routines, beckoning them to watch.

It's a cheeky move, and brimming with confidence, but for a second Saturday afternoon at the state gymnastics championship, she faltered. The Ward Melville sophomore sidled up to the beam after having just taken a fall on bars -- a misstep that would very likely cost her the top spot. At first she started to point to her eyes, but then decided to get on with her routine.

Crasa bounced back from a rough beginning with a sterling, simplified beam routine featuring a backhandspring-layout-step-out connection and roundoff 1½ twist dismount, earning her a 9.525 and a tie for first place. Her performance on the final three events, including an explosive Yurchenko full (9.725) on vault, helped pace Suffolk to a second place finish behind Buffalo, 186.600-182.050.

"You have to throw [the bad] away," Crasa said. "Now is new. I felt much better after that beam routine. I knew floor was coming and that was going to be good . . . and vault is my strongest event. No one was going to take it away from me."

Crasa took third in the all-around (37.500), while Miller Place's Jordan Ceccarini, who had third place finishes in beam (9.300) and bars (9.450) was fourth with a 37.450. Bay Shore's Mattea Gravina tied Ceccarini in beam. Nassau finished fifth overall (176.950) behind Bethpage's Sarah Ciresi, the only girl on the team to medal. Ciresi, in her final meet, earned a 9.375 on bars, good for fifth place. The top six finishers earn a medal.

Buffalo's Courtney Bondanza took first all-around with a 38.125.

"I didn't expect to get a medal at all," Ciresi said. "It's crazy here and it's so different [from Nassau] meets . . . It's not that I wanted it to end, but I was relieved when it was over. And then I realized it was my last meet. It was an amazing for me to end on such a good note."

Her senior year -- which included the Nassau all-around title and leading her team to an undefeated regular season - "was a dream," coach Kim Rhatigan said.

Suffolk coach Caryl Crasa was just as happy for her finish. "Buffalo didn't count one fall," she said. "They didn't have one mistake and we had a couple, but we still [got second]. I see nothing but bright things in the future."

Some of that future comes in the sparkplug form of her daughter, who she said insisted on doing her more difficult Yurchenko full, instead of the layout dismount. "She amazes me," Caryl Crasa said. "She said, 'mom, I want to try to win.'"

Crasa had the vault title until the final gymnast, Buffalo's Rachel Filipski, eked out a 9.850 on a Yurchenko full of her own.

It was still to be a day of victories, though. And midway through her final routine -- her 9.500 floor exercise - it was clear that Cydney realized it.

Before her final series, she turned to the judges, grinned, and motioned to them: Hey guys, watch this.

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