Barnegat’s Kylie Picaro Pleased With Her Last Effort in State Gymnastics Championships

Nov 15, 2017
Photo by: David Biggy Barnegat gymnast Kylie Picaro wrapped up her high school career with a 34.650 at the NJSIAA Individual Championships on Nov. 11.

Kylie Picaro had been to the NJSIAA Individual Gymnastics Championships for the previous three years, but this time around was different.

“My first year, I did vault and floor, and my sophomore and junior years I just did vault,” said the Barnegat High School senior, who culminated her career with a solid 34.650 at Montgomery High School on Nov. 11. “But I was really happy that I able to finish off the season, and my career, doing the all-around at the state finals. It was special.”

Going up against the state’s best, Picaro was among excellent company, which included most of the Shore Conference’s top competitors. And while Red Bank Catholic senior Ally Cucich managed to grab the individual state crown with a 38.875, followed by Marlboro’s Melissa Astarita with a 38.575, Picaro was fine with her 36th-place finish, knowing that the judges weren’t giving away easy points.

“I knew the scoring was going to be tough because there were a lot of really good girls competing,” she said. “I wasn’t too nervous, even though it was my first time doing all-around and the competition was so good. I stuck the vault and floor, and I fell on my dismount from the bars and during my beam routine, but overall it went pretty well.”

Still, Picaro’s ending up in the state finals as an all-around competitor was a big deal after enduring several challenges through her career, given the fact the Bengals had three different coaches during her four-year stretch.

“It’s been rough at times, but I’m really glad I went through my four years without getting hurt,” she said. “That’s an accomplishment. I had four good years, and I’m happy with how it ended.”

While Picaro wrapped up a fantastic high school career in the state finals, Southern Regional freshman Maria Mezzo was busy putting an exclamation point on her first season as a varsity gymnast, finishing right behind Picaro in the all-around with a score of 34.625.

“I was happy with it,” said Mezzo, who conceded that it was a bit overwhelming to be among the state’s best as the only one competing from Southern. “I did my best, and it was one of my better meets this season. For me, I liked that I qualified for all-around because I’m more comfortable doing all the events rather than just one or two.”

And even though Mezzo comes from a highly competitive club background, the high school state finals offered a brand new perspective, given that she was competing against a lot of girls much older and more experienced.

“For club, we compete against girls our own age and skill level,” she said, “so it was really important to get the experience, just to know what it’s like at the state finals. This will help me plan for the next few years. It gives me new goals for myself, and now I have to figure out where I can pick up a few more tenths here and there to boost my scores.”

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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