For the Darien Y Gymnastics team, the 2012 season wrapped up in an exceptional showing at the YMCA National Gymnastics Championships in Milwaukee, WI. The three-day competition featured over 100 teams and 1,500 individual gymnasts from across the country.

"Our athletes train year round for this competition," Gymnastics Director John Schwartz said. "Once it begins, our highest level gymnasts compete for two or three consecutive days, and it becomes a test of both physical and mental stamina."

Darien's most advanced gymnasts -- Perry Kindel, Stephanie Klokiw, Hayley Holzinger, and Katherine Mosher -- combined for fifth place in the Level 9/10 competition. Kindel gained All-American status by placing eighth in the all-around championship division, while Klokiw captured fourteenth all-around and third on floor.

The Level 8 team finished second in the nation. Adnerys DeJesus and Christina Crowell finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in the all-around competition. DeJesus had a strong showing on both days, placing first on bars and third on vault. Other outstanding performances during the preliminary competition included Alissa Chan (first on bars), Mary Pat Murtagh (third on vault and floor), Jessica Freiheit (third on bars), Lauren Medwid (third on beam), Samantha Karpenos (fourth on bars) and Christina Brandt (fifth on vault).

Within their session, the Darien Y Level 7 gymnasts dominated the competition. In their respective age categories, Lauren Chung and Nicole Carlo captured first in the all-around competition, while Samantha Gunn placed second. Additionally, Elise Mercein, Kellie Arvalo and Perri Mirable finished fourth, fifth, and seventh, respectively. This was the very first Level 7 competition for both Carlo and Arevalo, who advanced to the level after a regional meet in May.

In their age groups, Isabel Hansen and Kelsey Fedorko led the way for Level 6, with first place finishes in the all-around competition. Quin Wolters placed fourth overall, with steady execution on all four events. Standout performances were given by teammates Tierney Schiff (third on beam), Charlotte Henry (fifth on bars) and Emma Hunter (12th on beam).

In their first-ever national competition, the Level 5 gymnasts had a solid showing. Annsley Martin captured second in the all-around competition, including first place on floor. Darien's Mackenzie Biele, Octavia Molkenthin, Lucy Holzinger, Wren Stewart, Alexandra Nason, and Kaitlyn Moussignac swept sixth place through eleventh overall. Maeve DeGulis, Lana Schmidt, Stella Kamensky, Dorothy Browning and Tess Keating also contributed to the team's success.

House team (Prep-Op) gymnasts competed on day one of the championship. Kajsa Lundeen earned the top overall ranking, taking third on vault, bars and beam and first on floor. Other notable performance included Courtney Duker (second on vault), Caroline Congdon (fourth on bars), Julia Murray (fourth on beam), Marya Von Schmidt (sixth on vault), Halie Metz (seventh on beam), Lauren Fusek (ninth on bars) and Emily Medwid (14th on beam).

Locally, the gymnastics program was recently awarded "Best of the Gold Coast" by Moffly Media.

Nationally, under the leadership of Vladimir Kovalenko and his coaching staff, the Darien Y Gymnastics team has built one of the top YMCA programs in the country. Over the last 10 years, the team has consistently finished among the top 10 at the YMCA Nationals.

Beginning in August, the team will resume training for the next season in their new, state-of-the-art training facility at the Darien Y.

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