Mountain Magic tested at Make it Count Invitational

Mar. 2—FAIRMONT — The competition continues to ramp up for Aerial Port's Mountain Magic Gymnastics, with the local team taking to Pigeon Forge recently to compete with thousands of gymnasts in the Make it Count Invitational.

The mega event drew over 3,000 athletes to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, on Feb. 17-20, with teams from 18 different states participating throughout the three-day competition.

Mountain Magic finished with two top placements all-around in two different levels and age groups. Josie Gust finished first all-around at level three in her age group, while Kendall Paugh placed atop the competition at level four in her age group.

"We continue to see steady improvement within our different levels, especially our lower level gymnasts," head coach Gary Rafaloski said in a press release. "This was a top level meet and for our team members to place high in their division was a great accomplishment."

Rafaloski's level nine squad placed fourth as a team at the invitational, in an advanced division with "no margin for error," according to the longtime coach.

Laurel Long placed second and Annabelle Kennedy placed second and third, respectively, in their age groups at level three. Isabella Bombard placed fourth and Lucia Scalise placed fifth, also at level three.

Brooke Naternicola placed fourth all-around at level seven, and Ella Harvey placed fourth at level eight.

In Mountain Magic's level nine team, Kylie Bowsher placed fourth and Markley White placed fifth.

Allie Howell placed fourth and Sophia Balko placed fifth at level 10 competition.

"We're still striving for a third strong score on each event in our team divisions to help out our team scores and placements," Rafaloski wrote. "Continued improvements in our training will facilitate better performances in our future meets."

Next up for Aerial Ports' Mountain Magic is the No Place Like Home Invitational in Monaca, Pennsylvania, on March 11-12.

Reach Nick Henthorn at 304-367-2548, on Twitter @nfhenthorn_135 or by email