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Ward Melville’s Cydney Crasa wins prestigious gymnastics title

Cydney Crasa of Ward Melville poses for a

Cydney Crasa of Ward Melville poses for a portrait during Newsday's All-Long Island varsity gymnastics photo shoot at company headquarters on Monday, March 30, 2015. Credit: James Escher

It’s been a long time coming for Cydney Crasa.

The senior from Ward Melville High School has won several county and state gymnastcs titles since seventh grade, but Friday’s accomplishment trumps them all.

After a stellar score of 38.7, Crasa was crowned the 2016 National Senior Invitational All-Around champion at the Estero Community Center in Fort Myers, Fla.

Thirteen states sent gymnasts to the competition hosted by the National High School Gymnastics Association, and Crasa was able to notch the top scores on the floor exercise (9.8) and the balance beam (9.65).

Her scores in vault (9.65) and the bar (9.6) also were exceptional, leading to her moment atop the podium.

“It’s sort of surreal, actually,” Crasa said. “I’m happy to be healthy and a champion. It’s been a long road.”

All four routines were nearly flawless for Crasa, but coach Barbara Tiess said her dismount on her bar routine was her high point.

Her double layout dismount — given an “E” rating, the highest difficulty dismount performed in the competition — was stuck cold. She released the bars, flipped backwards twice and landed straight on her feet.

“I’ve been doing it for a little bit now, so it was just a nice way to start the meet off with a big bang,” said Crasa, who added that some called the dismount “magical.”

Crasa said she had a good feeling entering the Estero Community Center, citing Florida’s relaxed tempo and calming atmosphere.

And after Crasa began impressing spectators and judges alike with her acrobatic routines in the opening events, coach Barbara Tiess knew that she was witnessing something special.

“Today she hit so big that I knew nobody was going to beat her,” she said.

By winning the All-Around, Crasa also qualified to compete in the four individual events in Saturday’s action. Her hope is to travel back home to Setauket with even more hardware.

She’ll perform similar routines to the ones showcased in the All-Around, but she said she plans to add some things that will “spice it up.” Given her dominance Friday, that seems like a good plan.

“She was head and shoulders above everyone else today,” Tiess said.

Crasa will attend George Washington University in the fall as a member of the women’s gymnastics team, ranked 23rd in the nation at the close of this season.

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