The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

August 1, 2008

Uzelac Gymnastics celebrates great year



Once every four years, the Olympic spotlight shines on sports that get little attention otherwise, and people who seldom give those lesser-known sports a thought otherwise suddenly and briefly become fans. Likewise, the Olympics arouses interest among would-be athletes.

Gymnastics is, perhaps, the best example of a sport that benefits from an influx of both fans and participants during Olympic years.

“It’s a real big motivator for our gym,” said Brenda Uzelac, owner and head coach of Uzelac Gymnastics in Richland. “The parents see all this and want their kids to be little Olympians. It helps the gymnastic community at this time.”

But Uzelac Gymnastics was experiencing a good run even before the Olympic glow kicked in a few weeks ago. Thirty-eight gymnasts from the Richland facility – the entire team – qualified for the state meet, and six combined to bring home eight titles.

Amanda McGee captured Level 9 vault, Nicole Coukart took Level 4 all-around and balance beam, Aleah Kehn captured Level 4 all-around and balance beam, Morgan Gossard won Level 5 vault, Keyli Smith took Level 4 uneven bar and Courtney Mihalko won Level 4 uneven bar.

“This is probably our best year ever,” Uzelac said. “We have six state champions. For everyone to make it this year, and to have that many all-around and individual champions ... it was our best year.”

It being an Olympic year, the team got to celebrate in a special way.

“We went to Olympic Trials in Philadelphia, and they got to watch the trials and get autographs,” Uzelac said. “We watched the men’s and women’s competition, and two of my girls – Amanda McGee and Casey McGee – got to be runners on the floor working the meet for them.”

But, the success of Uzelac Gymnastics goes beyond that strong showing at the state level. The business also has benefited by moving from the Industrial Park to the former Richland Area High School and creating a partnership with the East Hills Recreation Commission.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • LAG 0720 AAABA League playoffs: Laurel Auto Group moves closer to advancing

    Second-seeded Laurel Auto Group fell behind early against No. 3 Berkley Hills Renegades on Sunday afternoon at Roxbury Park. But Laurel’s players didn’t lose their composure.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urtz, Pope lead AAABA League award votes

    Logan Urtz hadn’t fielded a ground ball as an infielder or swung a bat in a game for a couple seasons.
    But you can’t take the former infielder out of a starting pitcher.

    July 20, 2014

  • Gorden, Joe Tribune-Democrat sports staffer departs after 44 years in newsroom

    Joe Gorden’s temporary assignment to The Tribune-Democrat sports department concluded on Thursday night after more than four decades.
    Gorden retired after 44 years at the newspaper, all but three of them in the sports department.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Steelers 0731 Steelers’ Brown eyeing encore to breakout season

    Antonio Brown rolled up to the dorms at Saint Vincent College last week in a Mercedes conversion van.
    It’s fitting in a way. Five years into a blossoming career, the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver is playing the role of dad – OK, maybe slightly older brother – to a group long on talent but short on experience.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bucs stand pat at non-waiver deadline

    The Pittsburgh Pirates will receive some welcome additions to their roster in the coming days.
    The faces, however, will be familiar.

    July 31, 2014

  • Blairsville pegged as team to beat

    As Heritage Conference football coaches assembled at United High School during Wednesday’s media day event at Thomas J. Madill Field, the near-consensus opinion is that Blairsville – under second-year coach Rick Artley – is going to be the team to beat once the season begins on Aug. 29.
    After the Bobcats, the forecasted picture gets a little foggier.

    July 30, 2014

  • tim Baserunning blunder helps Giants end six-game losing streak

    Clint Hurdle says he and a pal often marvel over how there’s always something new to see at a baseball game.
    Too bad for Hurdle. What he watched Wednesday wrecked the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 7-5 loss.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • shazier Rookie linebacker making impression at Steelers camp

    Ryan Shazier grew up the football equivalent of a Rorschach test.
    Some coaches looked at Shazier’s 6-foot-1 frame with plenty of room to grow and saw a defensive end.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greene’s No. 75 will be retired at Ravens game

    Joe Greene’s No. 75 now belongs to the ages.
    The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Wednesday the team will retire the Hall of Fame defensive end’s number during a game against the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 2.

    July 30, 2014