Hornets’ Valentin enjoyed impressive first year

first_imgFrosh was SC all around Champion Holmdel High School freshman Kendall Valentin has risen onto the high school gymnastics scene this year, winning the all-around title at the Shore Conference championships. BY MATTHEW ROCCO Correspondent center_img Middletown South’s Tim McCardle looks to run to daylight during the Nov. 12 Central Jersey Group III game against Steiner played in Middletown. The Eagles advanced to the semifinals with a 35-8 victory. ERIC SUCAR staff “She was kind of an unknown, and she quietly took everybody by surprise,” Holmdel head coach Liz Porter said. “If they didn’t know her then, they know her now.”Valentin scored a total of 37.55 points at the championship meet, which was held at Brick Memorial High School on Oct. 30. She also took first place on the uneven bars.“Kendall works well under pressure. She definitely rose to the occasion,” Porter said.At the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I meet on Nov. 6, Valentin finished in a third-place tie with Freehold Borough’s Jenna Crisalli for the allaround title.The NJSIAA state championship meets were held last week at Montgomery High School. Valentin’s best performance at the individual event on Nov. 13 came on the uneven bars, where she scored a 9.575, which put her in a three-way tie for second place.“I am definitely going to go all-out, but it would be nice to win or be in the top three,” Valentin said prior to the individual event.Valentin has had the support of her older teammates who have helped her along the way.“The older girls definitely support me. They are all coming [to the state individual championships] even though they didn’t make it,” she said.When asked about her objectives before the school year began, Valentin explained that she did not expect to find success in her first year.“I hear from a lot of people who weren’t successful at first,” Valentin said. “I was a little surprised.”Although she is new to high school gymnastics, Valentin has competed at USA Gymnastics meets, gaining some experience before entering high school.“It’s definitely an adjustment,” Valentin said of the transition from USAG to high school gymnastics. She added that the high school rulebook presented a challenge because it differs from USAG rules.Valentin has made an impression on high school gymnastics and her team. In addition to her success at individual meets, Valentin has been an important part of Holmdel’s squad.“Kendall has been a great asset to our team. She comes to every practice and every meet. She got better as the season went on by working harder. In addition to being a great gymnast, she is a great team player,” Porter said.“I was pretty sure Kendall would be one of the top gymnasts in the area,” Porter added. “She has a great work ethic. She’s there for her team. Kendall is a nice kid, down to earth, and loved by her teammates.”Valentin, the daughter of former Boston Red Sox and New York Mets infielder John Valentin, has gained a remarkable amount of experience as a freshman, putting herself ahead of future competitors.“I have definitely gained a lot of insight. It gives me self-confidence,” Valentin said. “Having experience is always good.”last_img

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