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2010-01-28

Verciglio turns in ‘super star’ gymnastics performances

By Judith Pannebaker

Bandera’s Ben Verciglio recently turned in “super star” performances for the Boerne Gymnastics Center (BGC) boys’ team during the Wally Miller Memorial Invitational in Austin, according to Coach Jack McClure.

Seven-year-old Verciglio, grandson of Dominic and Susan Verciglio, competed as a Level Four gymnast in his age group on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 16 and 17. He competed against 30 other contestants, finishing fourth All Around with a gold medal. Verciglio also received four other gold medals by placing fourth on the pommel horse, fifth on the rings, second on the parallel bars and third on the high bar. A seventh place tie on floor routine garnered him a silver medal.

Jack McClure, BGC coach for the boys’ team noted, “This was an awesome start for Ben’s first USA-Gymnastics competition.”

McClure had only good things to say about the event and its namesake. “Wally Miller was a gymnastics coach and owned ‘GT Express’ in San Antonio. I had the great opportunity to compete my teams there in the 1980s and I also judged at his competitions as well.”

Austin’s Star Center Gymnastics hosted the invitational meet at the prestigious Saint Edwards University - the first gymnastics event held on the campus. “In my 25 years of gymnastic coaching, this was one of the best run competitions that I have ever attended. The invitational was held in a great facility and 300-plus gymnasts competed from across the state,” McClure said.

According to McClure, the entire BGC boys’ team had a great showing in Austin at the event.

Four gymnasts representing BGC competed in two different levels and three different age groups. Level Six gymnasts are both in the 10 to 11 years age group. Will Porter of San Antonio finished in the top 20 on the parallel bars in his first meet as a Level Six. “As a rookie, that’s not bad,” McClure noted.

Regarding Level Four gymnastics, two gymnasts competed in different age groups - Jack Hammer in the six year old group and Verciglio in the seven year old age group.

“As level four gymnasts, these competitors are ranked differently than in higher levels five through 10 in some competitions,” McClure explained. “Level Four is the first competitive level with basic to intermediate skills.”

According to McClure, since the awarding was done by percentages, there could have been one to five gold medalists and silver medalists and double that number for bronze medalists. “The more the gymnasts per age group the more places are given,” he said.

McClure also serves as programs director for the girls’ Texas Amateur Athletic Federation teams at the Boerne Gymnastics Center.

Understandably thrilled with her grandson’s debut in competitive gymnastics, Susan Verciglio offered, “When I asked him, Ben said he was ‘a little nervous’ during the competition, which probably meant he was really nervous.” However, she ascribed his success to a natural talent.

“If you watch his performance on YouTube, you can see that everything Ben does is very controlled. His feet are stretched aand his legs straight,” she continued. “Ben stretches and does strength exercises every day. I’m sure that he going to continue studying and competing in gymnastics.”

For more information on the Boerne Gymnastics Center, 105 Stonegate Road, call McClure at 830- 816-9496 or 830-456-4606 or email jackmcclure@boernegym.com