With a trip to the state championships in sight, a trio of sophomores stepped up to the challenge and punched their tickets on Tuesday night.
Shani Sirota of Roslyn won the all-around (37.975), Wantagh’s Reegan Henry (37) placed second and Syosset’s Allie Jacobs (35.675) finished third at the Nassau gymnastics state qualifiers at Roslyn High School.
All three will compete at the state championships on Feb. 29 at Cold Spring Harbor High School.
Sirota, who also earned a trip to the state championships last season with a second-place finish felt a sense of nerves entering the night, but ultimately prevailed.
“This is pretty cool,” Sirota said. “I was kind of nervous. I wanted to repeat after last year. But right now I’m really happy and proud of myself that I actually won.”
Sirota said competing at her home school played a big role in her winning performance.
“Being at my home gym was big,” Sirota said. “The crowd really made me happy and hyped up with their cheering.”
Sirota came into the night feeling particularly strong, enabling her greatest success to come on the vault (9.675).
“I just felt really powerful,” Sirota said. “And I knew that I could do it.”
As she now prepares for the state championships, Sirota hopes to shake off any pressure and to make the most of the moment.
“Just to have fun and do the best I can,” Sirota said. “And hopefully do better than I did last year. I just want to live in the moment.
Henry was also thrilled to earn a trip to the state championships.
“This was an amazing experience,” Henry said.
Jacobs returns to the state championships after also qualifying during her freshman season.
“This is such an accomplishment,” Jacobs said. “I didn’t know if I would make states again and I didn’t know what to expect at all going into this meet.”
Jacobs excelled at floor exercises, and felt a sense of motivation after watching the quality performances of her competition.
“I saw a lot of girls getting high scores and that I needed to step up my game,” Jacobs said.
Other qualifiers included Sabrina Ratas from Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK on the bars (8.9) and beam (9.15), Sewanhaka’s Brianna Evelyn in floor exercises (9.575) and Kaylei McDonald of Valley Stream on the vault (9.25) and in floor exercises (9.4).