MADISON, NJ - For 16 years, the Madison Area YMCA Rosettes gymnastics team has ranked in the top 10 YMCA gymnastics teams in the country, this year was no exception. 

However, it was the first time that Madison Area YMCA Gymnastics Director and Coach Ellen Gavin, who has led the Rosettes for almost 20 years, was not with her team at Nationals.

Gavin was unable to attend this year due to her recent cancer diagnosis.

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Despite the diagnosis, Gavin welcomed the Rosettes home from the YMCA National Gymnastics Championships held June 29-July 3 in Long Beach, Calif., and celebrated her gymnasts’ achievements and spirit when they arrived in New Jersey, 

Gavin spoke with the girls before and after each competition via FaceTime and gymnasts’ parents continuously updated her throughout the meet she said.

“Not being at Nationals was tough,” said Gavin, who began her treatment as the girls had prepared to leave for the competition. “It was an extremely rough year with lots of ups and downs and not always being in the gym with the girls. They really pulled together as a team. I couldn’t be prouder of them and the coaching staff.”

The team’s Level 8 gymnasts placed second. Finalists included: Grace McCormick, 14, from Madison; Maria Ramos, 18, from Florham Park and Jessica Sterkel, 17, from Madison. The team’s Level 9 gymnasts placed fifth. Finalists included: Julia Chinni, 16, from Madison; Kristin Fowler, 18, from Madison and Kaitlin Maroney, 18, from Chatham.

Every high school senior on the team made finals. Gymnasts from Levels 3 to 7 earned individual medals.

Associate Gymnastics Director Christina Lopez said that the 62 gymnasts between the ages of 7 and 18, the largest team ever sent by the Madison Area YMCA to Nationals, had fun competing and cheered for every team on the floor, as is typical of the Rosettes.

“Our girls’ respect and support for one another and the other teams at the competition are a testament to what the Madison Area YMCA gymnastics program is all about. The Rosettes are known for their encouragement, spirit and sportsmanship at Nationals. They rose up for Ellen,” she said, adding, “The girls wore pink camouflage bows with Ellen’s initials in their hair and pink camouflage ribbons on their shorts throughout the meet. Pink is her favorite color and the camouflage pattern represented the Rosettes’ army of support behind her.” 

Ms. Lopez noted the support of the outstanding coaching squad that accompanied her to Nationals which included “Professor” Vladimir Peleksic, Meredith Valentine and Cassandra Baumgartner.

Approximately 2,000 gymnasts and 200 coaches from 100 YMCAs across the country participated at Nationals.