Local News

Cobra gymnasts win a record breaking 40 individual titles, plus two team titles

The Cobra Gymnastics team of Rutland captured two team titles and a record breaking 40 individual titles this weekend at the 2024 Vermont State Championships, March 16-17.  

The Rutland Recreation Dept. hosted the championships for the second time in its history — 378 athletes from ten Vermont gymnastics schools competed. The event is run by USA Gymnastics and hosts two competitive tracks: Xcel (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond) and Developmental programs (Levels 3-10). 

Cobra gymnasts compete exclusively in the Xcel program with one exception, Karena Kuehl of Rutland. Kuehl was Cobra’s highlighted senior athlete in the Developmental program this season, joining the Level 8 competition floor for her final state meet in her 11 year career. Kuehl swept the podium in her age group (8.50 vault, 8.45 bars, 9.175 beam, 9.275 floor, 35.40 AA) and grabbed a spot on the Regional All-star team in April.

“Gymnastics has taught me so many invaluable life lessons that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life,” Kuehl commented. “I’ve been given amazing opportunities and meet the best people through this sport — I’m so grateful.”

The Xcel Gold team, consisting of 11 girls ages 10-14, set a Cobra record by winning the championship title with a 114.05 team points. In a field of seven teams, the group presented their talents and delivered the win over long standing rival team, Regal Gymnastics Academy, by a scant 0.125. Teammates Amelia Gibbs of Brandon, Lacy Carmack of Danby, Olivia Gibbs of Brandon, Hazel Mabey of Wallingford and Eda Mae Fioretti of Middletown Springs all qualified for the Regional competition to be held in May in Massachusetts. 

Courtesy of Team Photo
Catherine Welch (left) and Izzy Skuro (right) preform on beam. Gymnast Hazel Mabey celebrates with Coach Shelby Barsalou (right) after an event at the State Championship in Rutland.

“We showed up prepared — mentally, emotionally and physically. Our first athlete on floor came out blazing and the rest of the team followed suit; they lit up the gym with their joy for performing. It was one of the most enjoyable meets of my career; watching these girls believe in themselves and each other,” said head coach and owner Shelby Barsalou.

Individual Xcel Gold event titles include: A. Gibbs – vault (9.55), bars (9.70), beam (9.75), all-around (38.325), Carmack – bars (9.725) all-around (37.175), Mabey – vault (8.85), bars (9.425), beam (9.475), all-around (36.80) and Bay Sparks of Rutland Town – beam (9.60).

The 16-member Xcel Bronze team, ages 7-11, also captured a team win in a field of seven, with a score of 114.825. Cobra’s youngest competitors showed great passion for the sport and beautifully executed their routines with grace and power. 

Individual Xcel Bronze event titles include Izzy Skuro of Woodstock – bars (9.65), beam (9.70), floor (9.475), all-around (38.375), Bailey Wilbur of Whiting – beam (9.75), all-around (38.2), Emilia Ribeiro of Poultney – beam (9.55), all-around (37.8), Julia McGuire of Ludlow – floor (9.275), Eliza Sharrow of Shrewsbury – vault (9.725).

The 19-member Xcel Silver team won a second place team award with a team total of 114.50.  Teammates Sophia Gieder of Killington and Charli Fahoury of Wallingford will represent Vermont at the Regional competition in Massachusetts. 

When asked what gymnastics means to Gieder, she shared, “Cobra is like my second family.”

Courtesy of  Team Photo
Cobra Gymnastics Center’s team compete at the State Championships in Rutland last weekend, March 16-17. Karena Kuehl and Mia Harrinton (top left) smile with flowers after the meet.
The Xcel Gold Team (bottom left) won their team title, and (above 1-r) Hazel Mabey, Madelyn McPhee, and  Emory Mishoe demonstrated amazing athleticism and agility.

Individual Xcel Silver event titles include Gieder – vault (9.65), bars (9.70), floor (9.50) all-around (38.15), Fahoury – vault (9.60), bars (9.65), beam (9.30), floor (9.50), all-around (37.975), Emory Mishoe of Orwell – bars (9.575), Catherine Welch of Poultney – beam (9.525), Madelyn McPhee of Wallingford – vault (9.625) and Maddison Larson of West Rutland – vault (9.55).

Mia Harrington of Danby, Cobra’s shining Diamond athlete, tumbled her way to a spot on the Vermont Regional team in addition to tying for a first place finish on beam (9.30).

This is Cobra Gymnastics Center’s 12th year with a competitive team. Coaches on the floor included Barsalou, Kymi Fahoury, Topsy King and Karena Kuehl.  

Silver Medalists include:

vXcel Gold: Carmack (9.475 Floor), London Febbie (9.400-tie Beam), Karsyn Koontz (9.400 Bars), Alivia Cerina (9.650 Beam), Ella Lamson (36.325 AA)(9.325 Bars)(9.250 Beam)(9.200 Floor). 

Xcel Silver: Mishoe (37.375 AA), Esme Davis (9.500 Vault), Freyja Borgia (9.500 Beam). 

Xcel Bronze: Wilbur (9.275 Floor), Beatrix Hagge (9.600-tie Beam), Ribeiro (9.450 Bars), McGuire (9.600-tie Vault)(9.375 Beam)(37.600 AA), Lorelei Shackett (9.375 Bars)(9.625 Beam), Domenica Gagliardi (9.600-tie Vault)(9.250 Floor)

Bronze Medalists include:

Xcel Diamond: Mia Harrington (8.600 Bars)

Xcel Gold: A. Gibbs (9.325 Floor), Carmack (9.150 Vault), O. Gibbs (9.625 Bars), Koontz (9.300-tie Floor). 

Xcel Silver: Gieder (9.300-tie Beam), Mishoe (9.500 Vault). 

Xcel Bronze: Skuro (9.550-tie Vault), Wilbur (9.650-tie Vault), Hagge (9.650-tie Vault)(9.250-tie Floor)(37.950 AA), Ribeiro (9.575 Bars)(9.225 Floor), Shackett (37.400 AA), Gagliardi (37.325 AA), Ella Cortina (9.5 Vault)(9.225 Beam), Bree Sarandrea (9.525 Bars), Melanie Jamieson (9.600 Beam), Piper Cioffi-Willman (9.550-tie Vault)

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