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Pine-Richland sisters compete at regional gymnastics event

April 28, 2018

It took a strong showing at the Level 8 Pennsylvania state gymnastics meet to propel sisters Samantha and Madi Alexander to the regionals competition in Newport News, Va.

But once they arrived, the eighth-graders from Eden Hall Upper Elementary School certainly made their impact.

Competing with the top 64 female gymnasts from seven states in the region, each sister secured a top-10 finish in their strongest events.

In the uneven bars, Samantha shined, turning in a score of 9.35 to finish fifth. She rallied to do so despite suffering a frightening fall in an event at the state competition.

“I had a fall at states and, after that, I knew what I needed to work on to make it at regionals,” Samantha said.

“I don’t think I had my best performance for my all-around scores, but I feel like I really did my best on the uneven bars.”

Meanwhile, Madi scored a 9.175 in the vault to secure an eighth-place finish.

“I felt good about my finish because it meant my hard work paid off in the end. We practice every day,” Madi said.

“That moment was just a great feeling. I just wanted to make sure I did everything right, and it feels good to see it come together.”

Compared to most of their fellow gymnasts, the Alexander sisters got a late start in the competitive realm of the sport. Both Madi and Samantha did not begin competition until they were 10 years old.

Since then, the Alexanders have been training at Jewart Gymnastics with the Pittsburgh North Start Girls team. In the short time since the girls have been competitive, their gymnastics coach, Lainy Carslaw, said they’ve shown great signs of developing their talents at an accelerated rate.

“They’ve moved really fast,” Carslaw said. “They zipped through levels and jumped right up to level 8 so it’s been a little bit of a whirlwind. It was easy to be surprised at how fast and how well they were excelling. I think they can absolutely continue to improve.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.