BY DAN STICKRADT
With the Olympics coming in the summer of 2012, the sport of gymnastics might just receive a little bit of a jolt, at least at the youth, club and high school levels in the near future.
Numbers overall have dropped in the past decade, especially at the high school level in Michigan. There are less than 100 high school programs in the state, according to the Michigan High school Athletic Association.
The sport needs a lift.
In the NorthOaklandSports.com coverage area, only three schools have prep gymnasts — Auburn Hills Avondale, Troy and Troy Athens. The Rochester schools, longtime state powerhouses, dropped the program in 2008 due to low numbers. Clarkston-Waterford Unified dropped its program in 2002.
Even though the number of area teams are way down, there are still several athletes with local ties that shined on the high school level during 2011-12 season, turning in an array of top finishes at the league, regional and state-meet levels.
The NOS staff honors six of those athletes on the 2012 All-North Oakland Area Girls Gymnastics Team.
Below are the profiles of the first-team members:
ASHLEY MOSKAL, Auburn Hills Avondale: A fine track and gymnasts athlete, Moskal turned in a stellar four-year career and her senior season was a fine encore. At the Athens regional, she champion on bars and took second on floor and beam, fifth on vault and was the Division I all-around champ. At the state finals, she emerged as the state champion on floor (9.800), runner-up on beam (9.550), third on bars (9.575), fourth on vault (9.450) and finished second in the all-around category (38.375).
CHRISTINA SHABET, Troy: A sophomore, Shabet was a steady force in a variety of events. At the Athens regional, she was third in the Division I all-around standings to go along with winning the floor and placing third on vault, bars and beam. At the state finals, she claimed seventh in the all-around. She was also top-20 in all four events, finishing 16th on floor (9.025), ninth on vault (9.300), eighth on bars (9.125) and third on beam (9.525). She was also seventh in the all-around (36.975).
BRENNA O’BRIEN, Troy: A junior in her third varsity campaign at Division I, O’Brien finished in the top 10 at the Athens regional in each event and top-25 in each event at the state finals. At the regional, she was sixth on beam, seventh in the all-around, vault and bars and eighth on floor. At the state meet, she claimed 18th on floor (8.950), 20th on beam (8.475), 20th all-around (34.325), 24th on vault (8.600) and 22nd on bars (8.300).
ANGELICA URBANIAK, Troy: Another junior, Urbaniak was top-10 in Division I in each event at the regional and top-30 at the state finals. She was seventh on both floor and beam and eighth overall in all-around, vault and bars at the regional. She came back at the state finals and finished 14th on floor (9.100), 21st on beam (8.250), 23rd all-around (34.000), 24th on vault (8.600) and 27th on bars (8.050).
JULIA MASTRACCI, Troy Athens: Competing in Division II for gymnasts competing just in high school, this senior capped her career by finishing in seventh in the all-around competition (36.325) at the state finals. She was also fourth on bars (9.000), seventh on vault (9.325), ninth on beam (9.000) and 18th on floor (9.000). At the regional meet, she was second on bars, fourth in all-around, sixth on vault and eighth on both floor and beam.
SEREEN EL-AWAD, Troy Athens: Part of four teams that finished in the top five at the state finals, El-Awad accomplished plenty in the individual competitions as a senior. At the regional she was both the vault and bars champion while finishing second on floor and third all-around. At the state finals, she finished 10th on floor (9.225), 22nd on bars (8.475), 18th all-around (34.825), 27th on vault (8.800) and 30th on beam (8.325).
COACH OF THE YEAR
DEANNA FAKHOURI, Troy Athens-Auburn Hills Avondale: In 16 years with the program, including 12 as head coach, Athens has been a mainstay amongst the state’s elite programs.
Athens, which is now a cooperative program with Auburn Hills Avondale, has qualified for the state finals six straight times, qualified 11 of the past 12 seasons with Fakhouri being the head coach and 13 of 16 seasons with Fakhouri on the staff.
This year’s team finished 5-0 in duals, won the OAA meet and Athens regional (146.925) titles and finished fourth at state (144.200).
2012 ALL-NORTH OAKLAND AREA GIRLS GYMNASTICS TEAM
Ashley Moskal Auburn Hills Avondale Sr.
Christina Shabet Troy Soph.
Brenna O’Brien Troy Jr.
Angelica Urbaniak Troy Jr.
Julia Mastracci Troy Athens Sr.
Sereen El-Awad Troy Athens Sr.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Deanna Fakhouri Troy Athens-Avondale 12
Auburn Hills Avondale: Nicki VanAcker, fr.; Sydney Williams, sr.; Troy Athens: Nicole Wagner, fr.; Sara Yee, soph.
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