The last time the Mahopac gymnastics team won a Section 1 title, the Shannon Miller-Dominique Moceanu-Kerri Strug- led U.S. women’s gymnastics team won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.The Indians ended their long drought and captured the Section 1 title this year and were led by the 1-2 punch of sophomore Callie Johanson and senior Katherine Dorovitsine.
“For the team, it was an incredible accomplishment,” Dorovitsine said. “We did have some setbacks during the year, especially when we had issues with the gym (at Lakeview) and the uneven bars broke. We had all these problems and girls suffering through injuries, so we are pushing through that and being able to win the section championships was just an amazing thing for all of us.”
Johanson and Dorovitsine put up some impressive numbers of their own, leading to them being named the Journal News co-gymnasts of the year.
Johanson won her first Section 1 all-around title this season, becoming the first Mahopac gymnast to do so since Kylie Shields in 2008. She won vault and balance beam, finished second in the floor exercise and was fifth on the uneven bars. Johanson was the Division 2 champion in floor exercise and on the uneven bars, second in the all-around, and third in vault and on the balance beam. At the state and Federation championships last month, she finished eighth in the floor exercise and 10th in the all-around, as well as tying for 10th in the vault with Dorovitsine.
“It felt really good actually,” Johanson said. “I know that all my hard work in the gym paid off. With all my teammates up at states, they really pushed me to do the best I could do. It was just really exciting to go as an all-arounder since I went the last two years for the vault. To know that I qualified as an all-arounder, it felt really good.”
Dorovitsine finished second in the all-around behind Johanson. She won the Section 1 title on the uneven bars and was fifth in the vault. She finished fourth on the uneven bars, third on the floor exercise and fifth in the all-around at the Division 2 championships. At the state and Federation championships, she was fourth on the uneven bars, the highest individual finish by anyone on the Section 1 team. She was 12th in the all-around and finished tied with Johanson in the vault.
“It’s something I will look back on,” Dorovitsine said. “The major thing that got me through bars this year, which got me those higher scores at the Section 1 championships and the state meet, was this skill called the shoot-over. That’s one I had a lot of issues with and had a pretty bad mental block a couple of years ago on it. I’ve been pushing to get though that recently and now, funny enough, it’s one of my favorite skills and one of the skills I’m the best at. I think that is what pushed me to do so well this year on bars. I’m really grateful I was able to turn that around my senior year and make it one of my best events.”
To understand how the Dorovitsine and Johanson got to this point, is to appreciate their work ethic. Beside all the time that they put in with their high school team, the girls are club teammates at Dynamic Gymnastics in Mohegan Lake.
Dorovitsine and Johanson have been teammates for the last couple of years at Dynamic Gymnastics after previously working at separate clubs. Prior to Dynamic, Johanson was at Gym Magic in Brewster and Odyssey Gymnastics in Mahopac. Dorovitsine learned her craft at three different clubs in Queens.
Johanson, who has been in the sport since she was 2 years old, has found a kindred spirit in Dorovitsine, who, like Johanson, is continually looking to get better and take her talent to the next level.
“In the summer Katherine got hurt right before states last year,” Johanson said. “She was upset and pushing herself non-stop, being a head case about everything because she wanted to do everything but couldn’t. She’s really stubborn about that, All the coaches told her to sit if she needed to. She told them no. After that, it was me and her pushing each other. I got hurt in August, too, and she knew exactly what happened. We’ve been pushing each other a lot.”
Dorovitsine, who’s been in gymnastics since she was 4, moved up to the Mahopac area from Queens and came to Dynamic at 7 years old. She said she is proud of what Johanson has done and is excited for her future.
“I’m so proud of her,” Dorovitisine said. “Seeing what she’s been doing at varsity practice, at club practice, and I know she is able to achieve so much more. If she can continue practicing she’ll show everyone how great she is and wow everyone. I know it’s something that’ll lead her later on to great things. I think she has a great shot to go college for gymnastics. It’ll be something everyone would want to see.”
The rest of the Journal News first team includes:
Jana Frattelione, Fr., Lakeland/Panas: The freshman tied for ninth on the floor exercise at the state and Federation championships at the end of February. She was fourth on floor at sections. She tied for fourth on the balance beam, was ninth on floor and in the all-around at the Division 1 Championships.
Allie McCarthy, Sr., Brewster: The leader of the Bears was third on the balance beam at the Section 1 championships and was eighth in the event at the state and Federation championships. At the Division 2 championships, she won the balance beam title, finished fifth in vault, 10th on the uneven bars and sixth in the all-around.
Caitlin Pellegrino, 7th, Lakeland/Panas: At the Division 1 championships, Pellegrino won the floor exercise and was eighth on uneven bars leading the Rebels to the team title. She was fourth in the all-around at the Section 1 championships, leading the team to a second-place finish. She was third on floor and second in vault. She tied for 14th on the floor at states/Federations.
Cassie Traina, Jr., Mahopac: At the Division 2 championships, she was fourth in the all-around, second on vault, eighth on uneven bars, sixth on the balance beam and in vault. At the Section 1 championships, she was fourth in vault and tied for 16th in the event at the state and Federation championships.
Coach of the year: Vin Collins, Mahopac: He guided the Indians to the squad’s first Section 1 team title in about 20 years, and under his leadership, Callie Johanson won the Section 1 all-around title.
Valia Gregory, Jr., New Rochelle
Amanda Grigas, So., Lakeland/Panas
Chloe Lee, 8th., Mahopac
Daniela Nardo, Jr., Carmel
Liliana Olivero, Jr., Lakeland/Panas
Kylie Rosenquest, 7th, Carmel
Honorable mention: Debbie Musselman, Sr., Eastchester; Jennifer Narsico, Jr., Suffern; Catherine Panzanaro, 8th, Lakeland/Panas; Theresa Pellegrino, Jr., Lakeland/Panas; Laura Pollack, Jr., Scarsdale; Jenna Sielbergeld, 8th, Suffern; Jessica Wenz, Sr., Suffern; Justine Valentino, 8th, Ossining.