Ward Melville's Cydney Crasa competes on the balance beam. (Nov....

Ward Melville's Cydney Crasa competes on the balance beam. (Nov. 8, 2013) Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Cydney Crasa likes to start off at the front of the runway and do back handsprings to get into position for her vault, as if coiling herself for a controlled detonation.

Friday night at the Suffolk individual gymnastics championships and state qualifier at Babylon High School, she repeated her familiar routine. The resulting explosion was something akin to fireworks.

Crasa, a Ward Melville sophomore, executed back-to-back immaculate Yurchenko layout vaults, earning her a 9.925 -- a county championship record that breaks the 9.850 mark set by Bay Shore's Olivia O'Connor last year. The score is also the highest recorded in any event at the county's state qualifier, beating O'Connor's vault and Amanda Fillard's 9.850 on bars in 2008.

This is Crasa's second all-around title. She won previously in eighth grade. "It was just awesome," she said. "The cheers from the crowd were amazing and I couldn't stop smiling."

Crasa earned 38.025 overall for the top spot, edging Miller Place's Jordan Ceccarini, who took second all-around with 37.625. Along with her vault, Crasa notched 9.075 on bars, 9.325 on beam and 9.700 in a spirited floor routine.

Ceccarini's 9.250 on bars was the high mark of the night, as was her 9.500 on beam, which included a nearly flawless back handspring-backflip connection.

Bay Shore's Mattea Gravina rounded out the top three. She earned 9.450 on floor, 9.225 on vault and 9.200 on beam, a routine highlighted by her dismount -- two back handspring stepouts into a full twist. Crasa, Ceccarini and Gravina will compete in the state tournament after the winter season and will be joined by an alternate, Ward Melville seventh-grader Katie Bowe.

"I feel like every meet my bar routine has been getting better," said Bowe, who earned an 8.800 in the event and is in her first year of varsity. "I'm really proud of that."

The rest of the Suffolk team is composed of three specialists in every event and an alternate. On beam, Kings Park's Skylar Haas, Smithtown's Alyssa O'Connor and Bay Shore's Sarah Trupp made the cut. O'Connor, Bowe and Trupp are on floor. The vaulting team includes Middle Country's Samantha Lesmeister, Smithtown's Taylor Van Nostrand, and Bay Shore's Hayden Davidson. Van Nostrand, Commack's Amanda McNelis and Bowe will compete on bars.

The headliner, though, will be Crasa, who took third on vault and third in the all-around in states last year. "I can always count on my vault," she said. "And I really think that vault was one of my biggest accomplishments [yesterday] -- that high score and setting the record. It pumped me up for my next event."

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