Vaimberg caps gymnastics career at Nationals
Published 1:04 am, Friday, June 25, 2010
Emma Vaimberg could not have scripted a better ending for her high school gymnastics career. A senior captain for the Staples gymnastics team and the team's career-leading scorer, capped it by representing Team Connecticut at the National championships in Florida last month.
"It was such an honor to be selected to the team and it was an amazing experience," Vaimberg said. "I had so much fun with all of my teammates."
She is the second straight Staples gymnast to represent the state at Nationals, third overall. Rachel Sanfilippo represented the Lady Wreckers for Team Connecticut in 2009 and Liz Jahn, who resurrected Staples' program, competed for Connecticut in 2001.
Vaimberg first competed at Nationals on the balance beam and scored an 8.225. She had no falls while sticking her round-off, straddle jumps, wolf jumps and barani half dismount.
"I'm really happy with what I did," Vaimberg said. "I was so nervous before beam and I was happy I stayed on."
After competing on beam, she closed out her career by scoring a personal-best 9.025 on floor exercise. She increased the difficulty of her routine while performing a front handspring front layout full twist on her first tumbling pass, a front tuck step out into a back tuck in her second tumbling pass and a roundoff back handspring back layout full twist on her third tumbling pass.
"I scored a 9 on floor junior year and I really wanted to score a 9 senior year and to do it at Nationals was amazing," Vaimberg said. "I was confident with my routine and I did it all year and I was excited to do it at Nationals."
Possessing a calm demeanor served her well on floor.
"After beam, my nerves went away because beam is the most nerve-racking event," Vaimberg said. "I knew if I stayed on beam, I'd be fine on floor."
Preparing for Nationals wasn't easy but she did what she needed to do.
"I'm so proud of her," Lady Wreckers Coach Melissa Zigmont said. "Emma had about nine weeks to reorganize her routines to reach the difficulty level [level 9 rules with level 10 bonus]. She was the fifth girl on Connecticut to compete beam and she was the first one to stick for the team which set the tone for the rest of the gymnasts. She added new dance combinations and we were so proud of her for sticking in such a high pressure situation."
Including her performance at Nationals, Vaimberg finished her career with 1,371 points. She'll be attending Amherst College in the fall and hopes to either start a club team there or compete at a facility near her school.
"I had so much fun during my high school career and it was a great four years," Vaimberg said. "I'm sad it's over but with the scores I had, I'm incredibly happy."
Zigmont said, "I couldn't be more proud of Emma. I've coached Emma for four years and have watched her blossom from a level 5 to 9 in just four years [which is unheard of]. She has an amazing work ethic and I'm so glad she was chosen to represent Connecticut and had such a great meet. It was a great experience for me to have this one on one time with Emma and I'm so grateful to [Staples Athletic Director] Marty Lisevick for letting me have this amazing experience with an amazing athlete."