The start of the gymnastics season appears to be the beginning of an end for Megan Matrisciano.
The Northview senior spent a significant part of the past 16 years tumbling, turning, twisting, and jumping around on gymnastics mats in area gyms.
She’s been involved in gymnastics since she was 3 years old.
Frankly, the sport of gymnastics has been in her blood for most of her life, but the two-time state qualifier will bid adieu to the Tsukahara and Yurchenko. Matrisciano, who is also the school record-holder for the girls pole vault, has chosen to participate in track and field in college.
It wasn’t a simple decision for Matrisciano, who will attend Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania to study athletic training. Attending a pole vault camp at Slippery Rock last summer helped determine her college plans.
“Gymnastics has always been a part of my life, and I’m always going to love it, but pole vault is just as fun for me,” Matrisciano said. “I’ll miss gymnastics in college, but I’d rather go into pole vault in college.”
Matrisciano is looking to make this season as memorable as possible.
She opened the campaign by placing second in the all-around at a meet at Perrysburg. She finished first in the vault, which is her best event, and first in the uneven bars.
The strong start is something she and Northview coach Wendy Stanley hope will serve as a springboard to a third trip to the state meet. Dealing with mononucleosis during her sophomore year prevented her from reaching that goal.
“She basically leads our team this year,” Stanley said. “Her dedication and leadership is outstanding.
“She’s a four-year varsity gymnast, and without her we wouldn’t be where we are as a team. People look up to her.”
Talented sophomore Sydney Audet, who was a state qualifier as a freshman, is among the underclassmen that follow Matrisciano’s lead. Audet is recovering from an injury and didn’t compete at Perrysburg, but is expected to be back early to help the Wildcats make a run at qualifying for state as a team.
Matrisciano advanced to state in the floor exercise and vault last season and reached state in the vault as a freshman. Individual pursuits aren’t as much her focus and motivation this season.
“My goal is to qualify for state as a team,” Matrisciano said. “I want my entire team to qualify for state because Northview hasn’t had a gymnastics team make it to state since the 1990s.”
She spent plenty of days during the summer months training and practicing her routines.
“Gymnastics is just one of those aggressive sports where you can never get bored with it because you can always improve upon it,” said Matrisciano, who produced scores of 8.250 in the floor exercise and 7.90 in the vault at last year’s state competition.
Matrisciano took up pole vault as a freshman after she was approached by a track coach about trying out. She took to her new sport quickly and found it as challenging as gymnastics.
She set the Northview record at 9 feet, 3 inches.
She believes her best showing in pole vault is still to come and thinks her gymnastics experience serves as a key building block.
“I do gymnastics year-round and I always put in the time in the gym,” she said. “With gymnastics it’s all about pointed toes and looking pretty. With pole vault it’s just as aggressive, but less looking pretty. It’s about going upside down and over and you definitely need the strength.”