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High School Sports

High school gymnastics: Avon's Pompeani poised for a memorable senior season

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    Magnificat's Julia Pompeani, of Avon, practices a routine on the balance beam on Thursday afternoon, December 6.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Magnificat's Julia Pompeani, of Avon, practices a routine on the balance beam on Thursday afternoon, December 6.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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Julia Pompeani could look back in anger after injuries prevented her from reaching her full potential last year. Instead, she’s choosing to look forward to the final season of her high school career.

“Last year finished pretty good,” said the Magnifcat senior and Avon resident, who even with a sore back qualified in four events to the Division I state meet last year. “I was coming back from an injury so it was a little rough but I just did my best. My team was just thinking about having fun, staying positive at the (state) meet.

“The injury held me back a little bit, but I was satisfied with how I did dealing with it. I just tried my best to push through it.”

The seven-time All-Ohio gymnast finished tied for 16th in the uneven parallel bars (8.75), tied for 19th in the balance beam (8.9), 20th in the all-around (35.65) and 23rd in the vault (9.075). She helped the Blue Streaks to a Division I district title at West Geauga, a runner-up finish at the West Geauga district and a fourth-place finish at state.

“I missed a meet or two because of the injury, but I didn’t stop training,” Pompeani said. “I hurt my back a little bit so it was a little sore around the state meet. I first started experiencing the pain right before postseason. The injury was a wear-and-tear type injury.”

Pompeani brings serious credentials into her senior season.

She was the 2016 and ’17 Division I state runner-up on the uneven parallel bars, took third in the all-around at state in 2016 and was seventh in the all-around and 10th on the balance beam at state in 2017. She was sixth at state on balance beam and eighth in the floor exercise in 2016.

Pompeani would like nothing better than to end her high school career on a high note, but her primary focus is doing whatever she can for her team. Magnificat has a stellar tradition, advancing to the state meet 27 times over the past 28 years.

“I like the whole team aspect,” said Pompeani, a level 9 gymnast. “It’s really nice. This year especially, we have a very positive team and it’s just a positive atmosphere. No matter what happens, we have our team to fall back on and just need to always remember to have fun. We just need to go where our talent takes us and no matter what we’re always there for each other.”

The Blue Streaks will be much younger this season and will have to find a way to overcome the loss of senior Emily Connor, also from Avon. Connor, the Streaks’ top all-around competitor last year, chose to step away from gymnastics and focus on track and the pole vault.

Pompeani, who has trained at Great Lakes Gymnastics in Avon Lake since she was 3 or 4, will help fill the leadership void from the loss of Connor.

“My coaches are working with me and reminding me that no matter what doubts you have at the end of the day to stay positive and it’ll be OK,” she said. “It’s especially important this year. It’s important that I be a leader for my other teammates as a senior. I try to help them as much as I can, too.”

Longtime Magnificat coach Joe Gura has confidence in Pompeani.

“Julia is a very good athlete and has a lot of tournament experience,” Gura said. “She has always led by example. We’re a young team this year, but there’s talent. We’ll see where and how far that takes us. Our goal is always the state meet and then see what we can do when we get there.”

Contact Paul Heyse at (440) 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.


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