Gymnastics Trio Eyes Medals at WPIALs

Fox Chapel Area High School gymnastics team members Caitlyn Novak, Anneliese Pham, and Riley Hourvitz have advanced to the WPIAL Class 3A individual championships, during which they will compete on February 10 against some of the best athletes in the Intermediate II division. The competition will begin at 10 a.m. at Moon High School.

Anneliese, a senior, will compete in the floor and vault events. Caitlyn, also a senior, will perform on the floor, and Riley, a junior, will compete on the vault. This will be Caitlyn’s second time moving on to WPIALs and Anneliese’s third appearance.

According to Foxes gymnastics coach Nadine DeLeo, Caitlyn has made steady improvement and has been one of her most consistent gymnasts this season.

“Depending upon how strong her performance is that day, and if she receives a mid-eight-range score, she could have a shot at medaling,” says the coach. “The same is true with Anneliese.”

Anneliese Pham; at top, Caitlyn Novak

“I think attending all the practices and making it a priority to perfect my routine have really helped me throughout the season,” says Caitlyn. “If my routine doesn’t go well at practice, I know that I need to keep doing it until it does. Also, keeping in shape and working out before the season starts and then during the season as well has really helped.”

Anneliese, described by her coach as “a beautiful and artistic gymnast,” has competed on the beam, vault, and floor all four years, but she says her biggest improvements have come on the floor.

“I have gotten many upgrades (on the floor) since I joined the team, and my scores have increased greatly since I first began,” Anneliese says. She says the support of her teammates and the closeness of the group have been contributing factors to getting where she is today and gaining confidence.

This will be Riley’s maiden appearance at WPIALs. Coach DeLeo describes her as a really good vaulter, and she believes she can be competitive at the championships. She explains, “Although this is her first time at WPIALs, she could place in the high eights, and if she does that, medaling is definitely a possibility. She scored an 8.8 on the vault at our last meet of the season.”

Coach DeLeo says sending three gymnasts to WPIALs is a bright spot of the season, considering the roster was very small this year due to many injuries.

“We have always had much bigger teams and about four or five girls at WPIALs who competed in various events,” she says. “We have a number of seniors graduating, including Anneliese and Caitlyn, but looking ahead, if everyone else comes back, including freshman Clara Mah, who is a Level 9 gymnast, and freshman Madison Cook, we will be very competitive next season, and the girls are excited about that.”

Riley Hourvitz