“If you want it, go get it,” is what coach of the Xcel program at North Stars, Lindsay Aagre, told the athletes prior to the NJ Xcel State Championship earlier this month. The gymnasts held onto this motivation and shined at States this year. Many placed in the top-3 on one or more event, claiming 17 gold medals. By the weekend’s end, all Xcel Gold, Platinum and Diamond level gymnasts from North Stars competing at States had qualified for Regionals. “Overall, everyone did really well,” said Aagre.
The Xcel NJ State Championship was held Saturday, May 6, 2017 and Sunday, May 7, 2017. The event was hosted by Rettig’s Gymnastics and held at Montclair high school in Montclair, NJ. The meet consisted of 19 gymnastics clubs from across the state. Altogether, 15 gymnasts represented North Stars in the Xcel Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond levels. Each gymnast who received at least a 32.00 all-around score at one of the NJ Xcel Sectional meets qualified to compete at States.
Competing in the Xcel Bronze level were Alexa Sinopoli, Madison Jacquier, Olivia Cuff, Ava Fein, Charley Demetriou, Vishaka Dixit, Amanda Walker and Brianna Evans. Competing in the Xcel Silver level were Madison Blanchard, Jurzie Blu Cromartie, Eleni Calicchio, Nina Aki and Ari Allen-Santiago. Out of these gymnasts, many were crowned state champion. In the 6 and 7-year-old age group, Cromartie placed first on vault and third in the all-around. Blanchard placed first on bars and beam. In the 9-year-old age group, Calicchio placed first on beam. In the 10-year-old age group, Aki placed first on vault. The three Silver level all-around champions of their age group from North Stars were Blanchard, Calicchio and Aki.
Competing in the Xcel Gold level were Brooke Kurinec, Alexis Powell and Waring Parker. Competing in the Xcel Platinum level were Jennifer Kruszewski, Kourtnie Dwornikoski, Isabella Gray and Stephanie Buckley. Competing in the Xcel Diamond level were Rebecca Tirado and Michaela Buckley. Powell was named beam champion for the 11 and older age group. Gray was named beam champion for the 14-year-old age group and placed second in the all-around. Kruszewski, who competed in the 13-year-old age group, placed first in the all-around. Sisters, Michaela and Stephanie Buckley, both held the second highest all-around score of all age groups for their level.
After finishing strongly at States and showcasing their tremendous progress over the season, Kruszewski and Kurinec were recognized as the “most improved gymnasts” by the coaching staff at North Stars for the 2017 season.
The NJ Xcel program has only existed for three years. However, it is growing rapidly and increasing in popularity each year. This is the inaugural year for the Xcel Regional Championship for Region 7. Regionals will begin Saturday June 3, 2017, and conclude the evening of June 4, 2017. Giant Gymnastics will host the meet at the Crystal Springs Resort in Vernon, NJ. This year, Regionals will consist of 44 gymnastics clubs and 463 athletes, with nine representing North Stars.