October meant Halloween parties, creative costumes and immense amounts of candy for most, but for Mt. Hebron senior Anna Grafov, it meant bringing home a gold medal.
From October 6 through 8, the 2015 Pan American Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships was held in Caguas, Puerto Rico. The U.S. sent only the most talented teams of acrobats, and among them was Grafov’s team. They were sent by Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics and Cheer to compete in the 12-18 age group divisions. The competition was comprised of teams from all over the world, including Mexico and Canada.
The Pan American Championship required teams to perform choreographed routines consisting of dance, partner skills and tumbling. Teams in the elite levels, such as Grafov’s, are also required to perform a balanced, combined and dynamic routine.
Since the age of eight, Grafov has been involved in acrobatics, which combines fluidity of dance with the strength of gymnastics. She manages to juggle practices, competitions and schoolwork. On top of her several responsibilities, Grafov remains among the top in her class. Even though Grafov finds it stressful at times, she has a passion for the sport and sees it as very rewarding.
“I just want to stay in the sport as long as possible, work hard, and be the best I can be,” said Grafov.
On Oct. 16, winners were announced, and Team USA took home 10 gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze medal. Grafov and her team were some of those who are accredited with bringing home a gold medal.
“We were hoping to make it to finals and get on the podium, but we had no way of knowing how well we would do,” Grafov stated.
As for the Mt. Hebron community, everyone is pleasantly surprised with what Grafov and her team have achieved. The success is a proud moment not only for the Mt. Hebron community, but also for Team USA as a whole.
Principal Andrew Cockley announced the news to the entire school as soon as the results came out.
“Now, students who know her as a classmate and friend might just ask Anna what she did or how she got into acrobatics,” stated Mr. Cockley.
He hopes that students won’t be afraid to dream big and will be inspired by Grafov’s monumental accomplishment.
Mr. Cockley knows that “she will continue to make Mt. Hebron High School very proud,” he said.