YMCA of Greater Brandywine Makes History at National Championships

Photos courtesy of YMCA of Greater Brandywine

The YMCA of Greater Brandywine GYMCATS made history at the YMCA National Championships in Ohio.

Always a nebula for youth athletics, Chester County has once again made itself known on the national stage, this time at the YMCA National Gymnastics Championships in Cincinnati, OH. This competition, held annually since 1938, showcases the highest level of YMCA gymnasts.

The 2023 competition, which took place in June, featured the YMCA of Greater Brandywine’s GYMCATS. Standout star Alexis Nemchik made team history as the first GYMCATS athlete to place as a National All-Around Champion Finalist. The all-around event includes vault, beam, floor and bar.

A junior at Downingtown West High School, Nemchik placed first individually in both vault and bar competitions. She joined fellow GYMCATS winners Ava Kraatz, who also placed first in bars; Bridget Hoban, first in beam; and Sophie Renaldo, Lauren Hillenbrand and Lilly Campli, who all placed first in floor.

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YMCA GYMCATS team.Overall, 12 total members of the GYMCATS team — Angela Morris, Julia DeLuca, Reese Paterno, Sophia Renaldo, Kristen Cuskey, Lilly Campli, Bridget Hoban, Natalie Kamper, Lauren Loeper, Kelly Warner, Gillian Malany and Alexis Nemchik — received distinction, placing within the top 25 in the nation for Level 8 and Diamond teams.

“I am so incredibly proud of our gymnasts and coaches,” says Megan Hartman, Director of Gymnastics for the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. “Throughout the weekend, I was approached by officials, judges, fellow coaches and competitors who shared positive comments about our athletes’ tremendous sportsmanship. While I am so very proud of our many accomplishments and standings, I am even more proud of the way that our GYMCATS carried themselves throughout the competition.” 

These young women not only acquired the literal, physical awards for their prowess, but will carry the mental rewards of their achievement for the rest of their lives. It not only takes years of practice, skill and athleticism to place at an event like this, but also mental fortitude to know you’re capable of being among the best.

The 12 aforementioned gymnasts have armed themselves with the mental capacity to achieve greatness in both their future athletic and competitive pursuits, as well as their lives outside of sports.

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