On Sunday, March 26, at the 2017 Level 9/10 New Jersey State Championships, North Stars was awarded 2016 NJ Junior Olympic Optional Club of the Year. Level 10 gymnast, Rachael Lukacs, as well as Head Coach and Owner of North Stars, Tony Gehman were also recognized individually. Lukacs was awarded NJ Optional Gymnast of the Year, while Gehman was presented the USAG NJ Lifetime Achievement Award.
J.O. Optional Club of the Year is awarded to one club annually that has demonstrated success across all J.O. levels throughout the season. North Stars has received the award every year since 2011 and was proud to accept the award again this year.
At the NJ Level 10 State Championships in 2012, former gymnast at North Stars, Alicia Boren, was awarded Optional Gymnast of the Year. This past Sunday, Lukacs humbly accepted the same prestigious award. After a successful 2015-16 gymnastics season, Lukacs stepped up her skill level even more over the summer and entered the 2016-17 season with confidence. A combination of her preparation and experience allowed her to dominate nearly every Level 10 meet she competed in this season. Her highest score of the season was on vault at the Parkettes Invitational, on which she scored a 9.925. The gymnast hasn’t scored lower than a 9.775 on vault since 2013, allowing the event to be arguably Lukacs’ strongest. Lukacs’ highest all-around score this season was a 38.575, which she earned at the Greensboro Invitational in Greensboro, N.C.
As for Gehman, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award was a highlight of not only his weekend, but his career as a coach.
Gehman began his gymnastics career at 12 years old, and overtime, developed a passion for the sport. He competed all-around for the men’s gymnastics team at East Stroudsburg University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education in 1979. Immediately after graduation, Gehman began coaching at North Stars. In 1985, Tony and Paula Gehman established ownership of North Stars and turned it into the reputable gymnastics academy it is today.
Over the past 38 years, Gehman has made large contributions to the sport. He has coached gymnasts of all levels, including elite and U.S. National Team members, and guided his gymnasts to compete in international countries including Russia, France, Korea, England, Columbia, Cuba, Mexico, Canada and Bulgaria. Gehman has also been a member of the USA Gymnastics Coaching Staff, member of the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors, a National Lecturer and was President of the United States Elite Coaches Association (USECA) from 1991-2001. In 1991, he was voted USA Gymnastics Coach of the Year by USECA and in 2008, was voted Junior Olympic Coach of the Year. Out of all his accomplishments as a coach, receiving the NJ Lifetime Achievement Award is one of his most treasured.
The Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals who have dedicated a lifetime of service to gymnastics and have made a significant impact on the sport over the course of their career. This award will be a reminder to Gehman that even after he retires from the sport, his legacy as a coach will be everlasting.