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She Chose Right

Eight-year-old Woodbury gymnast ties for first place

at New York State USAG Gymnastics Championship

Ariel Posen had to make a tough decision last year: to keep splitting her focus between gymnastics and soccer, both of which she enjoys, or pick one sport and give it her best. The Woodbury third-grader picked gymnastics, and right now, it seems like that was a good call—she just tied for New York Level 6 Gymnast All-Around State Champion at a recent meet held in Elmira, New York.

Winning in the all-around category means that Ariel did the best overall on all four pieces of apparatus used in women’s gymnastics. She earned a 37.45 out of a possible 40, finishing first on uneven bars, second on vault, second on floor exercise and sixth on the balance beam. She competed in the 8-10 age group, meaning she was also completing against older girls. Her success also contributed to a victory for her team from Gold Medal Gymnastics in Huntington, which snagged first place by more than 7 points over gyms from all over the state.

This isn’t the first victory for Ariel, who started doing gymnastics at age 5; she recently placed third in the all-around competition in her age group at a meet in Boston sponsored by Brestyans American Gymnastics, home gym of Olympic Gold Medalist Aly Raisman. Although Ariel didn’t get the opportunity to meet Raisman, one of her idols, she did get a leotard signed by the Olympian—something she will treasure and never wear again.

Though she trains a minimum of 18 hours a week at Gold Medal Gymnastics, under the watchful eye of head coach Tammy Marshall, Ariel jokes that she would happily switch to home-schooling if it would give her more time to practice at the gym.

“Along with her passion for the sport, her teammates and coaches really motivate her and make her time at the gym something she always looks forward to,” says her mother, Michele.

However, according to her parents, this talented eight-year-old isn’t leaving her class at Baylis Elementary School in Syosset just yet. Either way, there’s still plenty of tumbling to do.