There is one major factor associated with being the best that is not to be overlooked: having to perform last.
Admittedly, this tends to give Plainview JFK’s Miranda Lund some apprehension.
“Oh yeah,” the sophomore gymnast said. “There’s a lot of nerves.”
But this is how Lund prefers it: with no choice but to go out and execute. Case in point: her electric performance on Nassau’s biggest stage, the county individual gymnastics championship at Hicksville High School Tuesday. Lund won all four events to claim the all-around (37.625) and qualify for the state meet at Shaker High School in Latham, N.Y. on Feb. 27.
“Usually I do better with nerves,” she said. “It’s kind of like you’re last, everyone’s watching you, so you have to perform well.”
Plainview JFK senior captain Jamie Simon felt a different kind of pressure. A sixth-year varsity member, this was Simon’s last chance to qualify for states. And with a 8.175 on beam, her name was finally called.
“I broke down in tears,” Simon said. “It’s been my goal for the past six seasons, and especially as captain, I wanted to lead my team as best I could.”
Though the team championship is Thursday, team camaraderie was a common theme throughout Tuesday’s meet.
The quintessential case was Massapequa’s Gillian Murphy, who finished second in the all-around with a 36.275 and solidified her spot on the state team for a second straight year. When asked about her personal successes afterward, she decidedly took the conversation in another direction: “This is not about me,” Murphy said. “The team is everything. I don’t do this for myself, I do it for them.”
Three other Massapequa gymnasts — Julianne Smith, Emily Corso and Jennifer Mullan — earned a trip upstate. Both Smith and Corso were plagued by injuries last season.
“It’s just an amazing experience to know that after almost a year of being out of gymnastics, the hard work is paying off,” Smith said. “Couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
Plainview JFK’s Renee Vulin placed third in the all-around with a 33.00 to qualify.
Kayla Corbett (Hicksville), Jessica Corrado (Hicksville), Alexis Kessler (Oceanside), Christelle Louis (Sewanhaka), Daniella Limpert (Sewanhaka), Gillian Chowske (Wantagh) and Dakota Ejnes (Long Beach) all punched their tickets upstate as well.
“The competition here was really, really tough,” Lund said. “Our state team is going to be very strong.”