Top state gymnasts competing Saturday in Kona


Some of the state's top gymnasts will compete Saturday at Kealakehe High School, including a trio from Kona Aerials Gymnastics. (Photo courtesy of Sue Dabritz/

Karin Stanton/ Contributing Editor

Some of the state’s top young gymnasts will be on the Big Island for a day of tough competition Saturday, March 28 at Kealakehe High School. 

The 2009 Hawaii State Optional Gymnastics Championship, hosted by Kona Aerials Gymnastics, will feature about 100 young athletes who had to qualify for the meet.

This year’s theme is “Dream More to Expect More” and island gymnastics enthusiasts can expect to see a whole lot of top action as keiki in Levels 7-10 compete for state titles in a slew of categories.

The girls design their own routines, which must include certain levels of skills, in the hopes of impressing judges from Oahu and from the mainland.

The scores from this meet will determine who will be going to Montana to compete in regionals (Levels 8-10 only).

The championship meet also will feature a special presentation for graduating seniors, including Lynsey Montell from Pantheon School of Gymnastics in Hilo.

Tickets for the entire day at $10 for an individual and $15 for a family. Keiki under age 5 are admitted free. Programs are $5.

A full concession stand also will be offered, with food prepared by Mindy Bachand – a gymnast parent and caterer. Another highlight is a silent auction to help offset isle gymnasts’ travel costs.

The last time the Hawaii State Optional Meet was hosted on the Big Island was 1999. Five years ago, Kona Aerials hosted the Compulsory State Meet, which includes the lower levels of gymnastics.  

The meet director is Nanette Guiffrida, coach and owner of Kona Aerials.

The day’s schedule:

Doors open at 8:20 a.m. 

* Level 7

8:30 a.m. – open

8:50 a.m. – march in

1 p.m. – awards

* Level 8

1 p.m. – open

1:25 p.m. – march in

4:30 p.m. – awards

* Levels 9 & 10 

5 p.m. open

5:30  p.m. -march in

8:30 p.m. – awards

Competing for Kona Aerials Gymnastics:

* Level 7 – Kaili Yuen

* Level 8 – Nicole Cristobal, Savannah Udac

* Kona Aerials coaches are Nanette Guiffrida, Sierra Davis and

Allison Alterman

Competing for Hilo’s Pantheon School of Gymnastics:

* Levels 9 & 10 – Stephanie Goya, Tiana Montell, Lynsey Montell, Cara Nakayama

* Pantheon’s Level 7 athletes may include Nohealani Martins, Allena Shimabukuro, Kacie LaGuire, Shannon Carvalho, Sharis Banasan, Keao Nonies

* Pantheon coaches are Pattie and Gerry Walkabout