JIMMY FISHER, Times Leader Correspondent
May 28, 2012
Kirah Koshinski, of the Northeast Gymnastics Academy, won a national championship in vaulting at the Level 10 National Championship in Hampton, Va., earlier this month.
The 15-year-old from Central Columbia High School also placed second in floor exercises,earningan overall placing of 11th.
Because of her showing, she was selected to compete in an international competition in Germany in November.
Competing in the competition along with Koshinski was Elena Lagoski, a 16-year-old from Wyoming Valley West.
A third member of the Northeast Gymnastics, Paige Parsnik competed in the Level Nine Eastern National Championship in Landover, Md. Parsnik is a 14-year-old student at Solomon Plains Junior High School.
The events competed in were vault, uneven bars, balance beams and floor exercise.
Lagoski placed second on floor exercises as well and finishing 17th overall, while Parsnik finished 13th overall at her event.
Lagoski has been a member of the academy dating back to her days as an infant in “Mommy & Me” classes, while Koshinski has been a member for six years and Parsnick for eight.
The girls were accompanied to their competitions by assistant trainer Laurie Dexter.
Dexter, 46, said this was the first year for Parsnik and Koshinski in the national spotlight, and the second year for Lagoski.
She said that in order to qualify for these events, the students participate in competitions throughout the entire year.
“They participate in six or seven invitational competitions and try to get certain scores to advance to state competitions,” said Dexter. “If they can get a certain score at state’s they are then qualified to move on to regional competitions and so on. After that they select six competitors for Level Nine Nationals and seven for Level 10 Nationals.”
Dexter said that the national competition is broken into eight regions of states throughout the country, and her girls represented the region of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia. They teamed with fellow competitors from these respective states.
Dexter was very happy with the outcome of the events, but was happier with the effort of her students.
“I’m extremely proud of them,” Dexter said. “They have such passion for what they do and they worked very hard. They did everything they could have done and did a great job, but most importantly they had a fun time.”
Dexter has been a trainer at Northeast Gymnastics Academy for 17 years, and they’ve had students participate for national titles for the past 10
years. She said their goal is to get more students to compete every year.
“Our goal is to try and get these kids opportunities to compete at high levels,” said Dexter. “(Compete) regionally, nationally, internationally, and maybe get college scholarships out of it.”
The Northeast Gymnastics Academy’s students have had great success in the past, including a two-time National Vault Champion in 2008 and 2009 in former student Lauren Rogers. Dexter said they have had students f
inish top 10 in nationals and had students receive gymnastics scholarships by colleges such as LSU and West Virginia.