Carmel Valley student places in top 10 at 2013 U.S. Rhythmic Championships


Carmel Valley resident and Canyon Crest Academy sophomore Andria Gao recently competed in the 2013 U.S. Championships for Rhythmic Gymnastics, hosted in ESPN Wide World of Sports, located at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

In the midst of tropical storm Andrea (a name coincidence), gymnasts from all over the country arrived at ESPN Wide World of Sports and competed. This national championship event features the best rhythmic gymnasts in the United States. Andria competed hard, and finished strong. She ranked 6th place in Hoop routine and 10th place all around in senior Level 10, the highest level in rhythmic gymnastics competition.

This is Andria’s third year qualified and competed in the National Championship but her first year in the senior division, which is tougher compared with competing in the junior division. Her top 10 placement also earned her a national Elite title.

Rhythmic gymnastics consists of music, apparatus tossing, dance movement, leaping, pirouette and balancing. Elegant and graceful, yet it demands great physical and mental strength from the athlete. Behind the flawless beauty of the sport lies a complex combination of high criteria and firm requirements as to the content of the routines, the degrees of difficulty involved, the technique of handling the apparatus and overall body control.

As Andria has continued to make progress year over year, she is very grateful to her coach Iordanka (Dani) Kovatchka of the SoCal Rhythmic team at the Magdalena Ecke YMCA in Encinitas, as well as the support and encouragement from her teammates. Andria started the Rhythmic Gymnastics when she was 5 and now trains around 17 hours per week.

Being a sophomore student at Canyon Crest Academy high school, Andria has been working extremely hard to excel in both gymnastics and academics. In the past semester, she was also able to achieve straight “As”in all her classes. Such accomplishments demand Andria to make tough choices, and often to sacrifice many fun or leisure activities and stay up late into night after practice to work on homework. Nevertheless, Andria is upbeat and treats these challenges as opportunities to not only embrace the sports she love so dearly, but also build up her character and mental toughness.

While enjoying her much-needed break in the summer, Andria has already started to set her eyes on beginning her junior year at CCA and a new season of rhythmic gymnastics.