Svaldi comes up big at first state gymnastics meet

IN HER FIRST APPEARANCE at the state meet, Charlotte Svaldi won the title on uneven bars.

Charlotte Svaldi has a way of performing well when things are on the line.

“Charlotte’s a very strong competitor,” her coach, Jessica Hawkins, said.

Three weeks ago, she saved her best for last.

Competing in the United States Gymnastics Association Level 4 state competition at Denver University, Svaldi, who turned 9 on Nov. 28, nailed her bars routine.

That earned the KidzPlex Gymnastics competitor the state title.

Not bad considering she was competing in her first state meet. When the pressure’s on, however, that’s when she does her best.

“I didn’t feel nervous at all,” Svaldi said.

She didn’t know what to expect from the competition, so she focused on her routine. Good landings, pointing her toes in the proper direction — those were the things on which she concentrated.

“We prepare for the nervousness part,” Hawkins said.

To qualify for the state meet, a gymnast must earn an overall score of 34 points at a qualifying meet. Svaldi won the all-around title at the Black Canyon Invitational in Montrose on Oct. 11 with a score of 36.7.

Svaldi is part of a solid group of Level 4 gymnasts that competed at KidzPlex during the fall.

“They are extremely hard workers,” said Hawkins, a former KidzPlex gymnast herself who just completed her first season coaching the Level 4 gymnasts.

“I love the kids,” Hawkins said. “They’re very focused — you don’t have to tell them twice.”

And they are supportive of each other.

“They were very excited,” Svaldi said of their reaction to her winning a state title.

Gymnastics came easy for Svaldi.

“I was a monkey,” she said of her desire to climb all over things when she was growing up. She took up gymnastics before she was 5.

The 2009 competition season won’t begin until September, but Svaldi plans on spending a lot of time in the gym in next few months.

That’s when she can work it into her busy schedule of polocrosse and swimming. As a member of the Grand Junction Dolphins swim team, she won the high-points title for her age division at the Montrose Marlins Invitational last summer (she seems to perform well in Montrose).

“I want to win the whole thing (next season),” she said of setting a goal of taking the state all-around title.


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