Gymnastics Team Small, But A Force

There are some challenges facing Nadine DeLeo and the Fox Chapel Area gymnastics team this season, not the least of them being the small group with which the coach has to work. Various injuries have left the team with just seven members at the beginning of the season.

The longtime coach said she started with about a dozen girls, but several injuries have cut her roster considerably

“My focus, more so, this year will be on individual scores. We’ll set goals meet by meet,” coach DeLeo said.

While there may not be quantity on the team, there is quality.

Freshman Clara Mah is someone about whom DeLeo is quite excited. Mah is a Level 9 gymnast – the second-highest rank possible – and will compete in all four events for the Foxes. 

“She is our highest (rated) gymnast this year,” DeLeo said. “I expect that she’ll make it to WPIALs if she qualifies in those four meets.”

Other key team members include juniors Riley Hourvitz and Lilah Blyth, each of whom is expected to compete on the bar and vault, as well as floor exercises. Both qualified for the WPIAL meet in the vault last season.

Junior Adeline Kress will compete on the floor and beam this year and is someone DeLeo said has progressed each year. 

Senior Caitlyn Novak is being counted on to help on the floor, and possibly the vault, and fellow senior Ashley Barnett has overcome some injuries and is expected to be on the vault. 

Senior Anneliese Pham, whom DeLeo called a “beautiful and artistic gymnast,” has been a WPIAL qualifier on floor and beam. She will compete on floor, beam, and vault. 

“All of the kids that are competing are all good,” DeLeo said. “Despite the loss of so many to injuries this year, the team has been very positive, committed to practice and doing their personal best. They are all very supportive of each other and a great group of girls to coach.”

The first meet is January 4 against Moon.