Photo courtesy of Bay City Gymnastics. The Bay City Gymnastics Gold team went undefeated in 2019.

Bay City Gymnastics, located at 9305 Balm Riverview Rd. in Riverview, vaulted its way to a very successful 2019 season. Its Gold team went undefeated in all of the team competitions they entered, and it had numerous state champions, regional qualifiers and regional champions as well.

“This is a huge accomplishment for our gym and community,” said Courtney Kozlowski, team coach for Bay City Gymnastics. “I think our recent success has really helped our girls grow a lot of confidence. We are considered one of the smaller gyms in the area compared to some of the other competitive gymnastics programs, so I feel like our success has boosted their confidence and has helped them stay in the sport, because in my opinion it’s the most difficult sport there is.”

The gymnasts competed in four events, including the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. This past season, the USA Gymnastics Xcel Gold team traveled to Fort Walton Beach and competed in the Emerald Coast Invitational, Orlando for the Magical Classic, St. Petersburg for the Gasparilla Classic held at Tropicana Field and Lakeland for the Spirit Classic, winning first place overall in every competition. They also competed in the Xcel Gold State meet and won that as well.

The Bay City Gold team had a total of nine state champions, 24 individual event champion titles, 12 regional qualifiers, multiple regional event wins, regional champions and a member who made the Florida State Team.

Lennard High School freshman Katherine Rodriguez had the highest all-around score in the state and competed with the other top seven Xcel Gold gymnasts from the state in Hickory, North Carolina. Rodriguez had a dominating performance and was named the Xcel Gold All-Around Regional Champion.

“Competing with Bay City Gymnastics and being a part of the Florida State Team has been one of the best experiences of my life,” said Rodriguez. “The program has taught me to be more disciplined and to continue to push myself and the other girls in the gym.”

Some Gold team members had scores that were in the top 100 scores in the nation. Emma Alfonso on bars (9.9), Sydney Johnson on floor (9.8), Hannah Migliaccio on bars (9.85) and Katherine Rodriguez on bars (9.95), beam (9.8), floor (9.9) and all-around (39.275) are recognized as a part of the top Xcel Gold scores in the nation for the 2019 competitive season.

Gold team members include: Ashleigh Adams, Emma Alfonso, Jayden Counts, Aaliyah Elbert, Anissa Espino, Maliyah Ferrera, Avery Fink, Ava Hagel, Hope Hensley, Sydney Johnson, Julia Llanas, Hanna Migliaccio, Jianna Reid, Katherine Rodriguez, Aubree Self, Alana Stillwagner, Emily Stone, Kaylee Stone, Trinity Vanhorn and Keira Weeber.

According to Kozlowski, the girls practice 12-14 hours a week, and they are coached by Julie Counts, Robin Mahlan and Kozlowski. Bay City Gymnastics was opened by Counts in 2002, and not only does it offer competitive gymnastics, it also offers girls and boys recreational classes, tumbling, parent and tot classes and pre-competitive classes. Its competitive teams, which have mandatory tryouts, currently have 55 team members that range from 6 years old to 16.

For more information, visit the Facebook page, Bay City Gymnastics.

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Nick Nahas
Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.