South Side competing at high level


The South Side gymnastics team has put forth another impressive season in 2023-24 and some of its talented tumblers could make some noise at the upcoming state qualifier.

The Cyclones entered the break 6-1 with three Conference 1 meets left, but a division title appears unlikely after the team lost at Plainview Jan 11 despite collecting a season-high 163.55 points. Despite the gaudy record, South Side is averaging 159.53 points overall while division counterparts Syosset, Massapequa – the two teams it will face after the break – and Plainview have amassed more, which is also factored in the standings.

South Side won seven meets last season and continues to compete at a high level despite losing several stars to graduation in recent years and not having at least one “all-around” gymnast on this season’s roster, according to coach Ashley Harney. But the lack of one still didn’t slow the girls.

“We’ve been doing a really nice job,” Harney said. “Unfortunately, we lost to Plainview. Plainview, Syosset and Massapequa are our toughest three to go against. Usually, we sit pretty cozy in fourth. Hopefully, one year we'll be able to take them.”

Sophomore Mia DiSalvo and freshman newcomer Sofia Rosa have both averaged over nine points in the floor exercise and their performances have been good enough for spots at the state qualifier at Carle Place High School on Feb. 13. DiSalvo won that event against Port Washington (Dec. 21) and Long Beach (Jan. 8), while Rosa was tops at Hewlett on Dec. 8 and against Plainview Old-Bethpage.

The two tied for first against Bethpage with 8.85 scores on Dec. 15 and have enjoyed a healthy competition with each other.

“I think sometimes yes because Mia being a sophomore and being on the team last year, I tried to upgrade her this year and have her complete three different tumbling passes instead of two,” Harney said. “Sofia already has three tumbling passes from her club gym, so I think Mia seeing Sofia compete with those passes, is almost saying, ‘I gotta stick all three of these passes.’ I definitely think they feed off each other.”

DiSalvo has also been strong on the vault and beam, winning both at Bethpage while posting around an 8.8 average score in the former.

“I would like to get her on bars, but as far as the other three events, she took the reins on that one,” Harney said.

Senior Erin McCarthy secured another state qualifying berth on the uneven bars thanks to her average score of 8.0. She had that exact mark in her win at Bethpage.

Freshman Nina Napoli and sophomore Ava Jewett are also state qualifiers on the balance beam and bars, respectively, and junior Olivia Accomando punched her ticket on floor exercise by the fourth meet.

Alexandra Griffo has been “solid” and equally consistent on the vault, bars and balance beam, according to Harney and fellow senior co-captain Riley Levine has averaged 8.58 on balance beam with a season high of 8.75.