Usually at a gymnastics meet, the air is filled with chalk and competitiveness.
But Monday, Cold Spring Harbor vibrated with positive energy during the fourth annual Cartwheels for a Cure meet.
Eight teams competed and raised money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a charity that hits home for CSH Coach Teri Kindelmann. Her daughters, 7-year-old Matison and 5-year-old Charlotte, both have cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs and other organs.
“This is our fourth year and it has grown from two teams to eight,” CSH coach Teri Kindelmann said. “Everyone in the competition is now aware of my daughters and we’re bringing awareness to cystic fibrosis. I think it’s great for the gymnasts to interact with my girls and know why they are here.”
Bethpage coach Kim Rhatigan also reminded the gymnasts why they were there in her opening speech.
“Today is Martin Luther King Day and I want you girls to know there’s more to life then Netflix,” Rhatigan said. “Being apart of Cartwheel for a Cure is about helping others and putting others before yourself.”
The gymnasts did just that raising about $4,000 in donations.
On the competition side, Plainview-Old Bethpage placed first (172.50) led by Miranda Lund and Jessica Lopez.
Lund placed first in the All-Around (38.150), Vault (9.550), Uneven Bars (9.550) and Floor (9.6). She placed second on Beam (9.450).
“We did our best for a great cause,” Lund said. “The competition has grown so much. Everyone knows the girls and we are all happy to be here and happy to help.”
Lopez placed third in the All-Around (35.3) and second on Floor (9.5).
“I think this entire meet is so unique,” Lopez said. “Not a lot of sports do something like this . . . we get to do something that we all really love for such a great cause and it just makes the event more amazing.”
Massapequa placed second led by Gillian Murphy, who placed third in Floor (9.45) and tied for second on Vault (9.1). Cold Spring Harbor came in third.
CSH wasn’t the only school to host a charity event. Oceanside and three other schools wanted to participate in the meet but there wasn’t enough space in the gym.
Instead they held their own meet at Oceanside where they raised $3,100 for St. Jude’s Pediatric Cancer.
“I’ve been coaching 35 years and it was probably the best day I ever spent watching a meet,” Oceanside coach Andy Morris said. “There was no competitive attitude, kids were rooting for other teams. I’m really proud of our kids.”
To cap off Cartwheels for a Cure, all the participants lined up on the mat and performed as many cartwheels as they could in two minutes with Matison and Charlotte right in the middle.
“The girls love coming here and cartwheeling,” Kindelmann said. “It’s great for them . . . the amount of people that come out, all of the support . . . it’s great.”