Former PA Gymnastics Star Pacunas Makes National News

Derry resident and former Pinkerton Academy gymnastics standout Kaylee Pacunas accomplished quite a bit during her years as a Lady Astro competitor. And she reached even higher highs in the sport recently, soon after her graduation from the local high school.

Pacunas was one of two New Hampshire gymnasts who competed at the recent National High School Gymnastics Association Senior Showcase in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., and she quite impressively finished tied for fifth place in the all-around at that prestigious event with a fine score of 37.125.

The recent PA grad – who will be moving on to compete in Division 3 gymnastics at Ithaca College in New York State in the fall – qualified for the finals on both the balance beam and the uneven bars at the national competition.

Also part of the small New Hampshire delegation at the Florida competition were Pacunas’ high school coach Chelsie Burland of PA and former Windham High School gymnastics stalwart Ali Otis, who is moving on to Rhode Island College to compete.

The 2014 senior showcase also drew gymnastics stars from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, and Washington State.

Team New Jersey snared the team title, while the skilled Granite state duo of Pacunas and Otis finished 11th, ahead of Michigan’s five-gymnast crew.

On the first day of competition, the New Hampshire gymnasts opened the meet on bars, and Pacunas tallied a score of 9.40 to end up ninth overall in the scoring.

Rotation two then took the Granite Staters to the balance beam, on which Pacunas earned a 9.475 from the judges to place a very solid seventh overall.

The girls next competed in the floor exercise, in which Pacunas ended up in a modest tie for 23rd place with her score of 9.20.

The New Hampshire duo then closed out day one on vault, with Pacunas earning a score of 9.05, which put her in a tie for 21st place in that event.

The top 15 finishers in each event – plus tie-holders – qualified for the second day of competition to determine the medal-winners in each event.
The young Derry woman then finished 16th on the beam and tied for 14th on the uneven bars on high-pressure day two, with her final overall score placing her in the top five of the all-around scoring.