HAVERHILL — Members of the Haverhill YMCA's Gym Stars team went up against more than 2,000 other gymnasts from more than 300 YMCAs across the nation and walked away with an array of medals.
One of the top performers, Gabby Ferrarini, 10, of Haverhill, placed third in the nation on vault, second on beam, second on floor and is the third-place All Around Xcel Gold National Champion. Gabby competed against 100 competitors from across the country.
"It's amazing to think the Haverhill YMCA had 12 girls who were in the top 10 in the country," said Tracy Fuller, executive director of the Haverhill and Plaistow YMCAs. "It goes to show the hard work of our coaches and the dedication of our gymnasts."
The team has about 65 members. Fifteen of them, ages 9 to 16, qualified to compete at this year's YMCA Gymnastics Nationals, which were held June 29 to July 2 in Savannah, Georgia.
Gymnasts perform at various levels based on their skill set and level of difficulty.
"This season was challenging for me, but I never gave up and my teammates never gave up on me either," Marley Kummel said. "They pushed me to be better and I couldn't have done it without them. I saved my best meet for last."
Nevaeh Paradis of Haverhill placed fourth on vault, third on bars, first on beam and tied for third in the All Around at Level 5 with Kummel.
"We have all worked so hard this year and for me to be able to take first place on an event was so shocking and surprising and exciting ... like all the hard work finally paid off," Paradis said.
The Gym Stars are led by head coach Kelly Murphy, who brought the team to nationals last year, as well.
"Being able to work with such a talented group of young ladies has been such a great experience for me," Murphy said. "Watching them work so hard all year, meet after meet, and then seeing them up on the podium placing at a national competition makes all the long meets and long practices worth it."
Fuller said the team has sent members to the nationals over the last six years, but that this year the club had more girls — 12 — place in the top 10 nationwide than ever before.
"When you think about the country and Haverhill, this is a testament to the quality of the program," Fuller said.
Girls who are interested in trying out for the Haverhill YMCA Gym Stars can stop by the YMCA at 81 Winter St. for team tryouts Wednesday, Aug. 23, at 6 p.m.
Xcel Gold Results:
Gabby Ferrarini of Haverhill placed third on vault, second on beam, second on floor and was third All Around at the Xcel Gold Level.
Sophia Ferrarini of Haverhill was unable to compete at the Xcel Gold Level due to an injury.
Level 3 Results:
Stella Stephanos of Haverhill placed fifth on beam.
Savana Pace of Merrimac placed fourth on floor and second on vault.
Nicole Thellen of Haverhill placed seventh on vault, fifth on bars, seventh on floor and fifth in the All Around for Level 3.
Alexandra Wersoski of Haverhill placed fifth on vault, third on bars, seventh on beam, fifth on floor and fourth in the All Around for level 3.
Jenna Williams of Atkinson and Grace Gokey of Boxford also competed at Level 3. They both had their best meet yet, Fuller said, but did not place.
Level 4 Results:
Kiersten Mackeen of Haverhill placed seventh on vault, sixth for beam and third on floor.
Level 5 Results:
Kaelyn Mazzaglia of Haverhill placed fourth on bars and first on vault.
Marley Kummel of Haverhill placed third on bars, fourth on beam and third in the All Around for Level 5.
Nevaeh Paradis of Haverhill placed fourth on vault, third on bars, first on beam and third in the All Around for Level 5.
Level 6 Results:
Lydia O'Brien of Haverhill placed seventh on bars.
June DiCicco of Haverhill placed sixth on beam.
Level 7 Results:
Nikki Lund of Haverhill placed sixth on bars.