Cali Czarcinski was a state champion last month. Contributed photo.
It has only been two years since Cali Czarcinski began taking lessons at Orchard Park Gymsters. Now a 10-year-old Level 5 gymnast and the latest from the gym to win a state title, Czarcinski had no interest in gymnastics when she first came to the gym.
“She wasn’t into the bar or beams at all. She just wanted to tumble,” said June Haas, Czarcinski’s coach and co-owner of Orchard Park Gymsters.
Czarcinski, a Blasdell resident, went to Rochester on the weekend of May 31 to compete in the New York State Gymnastics Championships in the 10-year-old Level 4 division, coming home with first place finishes in the vault and floor to help her place first overall.
It took less than two years for the Blasdell Elementary School student to win a state championship.
“She’s come a long way,” said June Haas, who coaches Czarcinski with her daughter, Olivia Haas. “She started out in one of our tumbling classes. We noticed her strength so we brought her on to one of our beginner team programs. We didn’t start off with working with her at first but she moved up to the next level pretty quick. A little bit of a rough start, but she took off and blossomed.”
Czarcinski scored a 9.6 on the vault and 9.40 on the floor to take first place in both events. Her 9.525 on the beam placed her third and 9.425 on bars gave her a fourth-place finish in that event.
“She really stepped it up on vault, too,” Olivia Haas noted. “She had an exceptionally good meet.”
There were 29 teams that competed at states that weekend. Czarcinski’s Orchard Park Level 4 team took fifth place.
Her teammates that placed in Rochester were Isabella Farina, an Orchard Park resident who finished second overall, and Buffalo’s Drea Favorito, who finished fifth overall.
In Level 4’s younger division, Lakeview’s Lea Philarom finished ninth place overall.
The Orchard Park Gymsters also competed in the early state championship meet Jan. 25-26, crowning two state champions. But Czarcinski was able to capture her title a few months later.
“We knew she had a chance, but it was still a real honor because you never know for sure if you’re going to get it a lot,” said June Haas.
Along with recently moving up to Level 5 with three other gymnasts, Czarcinski was invited to train with the TOPS ELITE team in Virginia Beach this summer. There, she will work with a staff that trains Olympic athletes in a setting very similar to the National Training Center in Texas before heading off to Pennsylvania for the Woodward gymnastics camp.
But at such a tender age, Czarcinski may not be aware of what she is accomplishing yet.
“I don’t think so. I really don’t think she does,” June Haas said. “When they’re young, they have a lot on their plate. She’s got a lot of gumption in her and she strives for it when we ask her to do things and she gets things pretty quickly.”