October 22, 2014

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A floor with no ceiling: Magnificat gymnast and Avon resident Julia Corrao out to make her best event even better

Avon resident Julia Corrao helped Magnificat get back  to the state meet last year after a one-year absence. Now she wants to improve on last year’s ninth-place finish.  STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Avon resident Julia Corrao helped Magnificat get back
to the state meet last year after a one-year absence. Now she wants to improve on last year’s ninth-place finish. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Simply competing for a gymnastics program with the tradition of Magnificat High School comes with a huge sense of responsibility and pride.

Julia Corrao learned that early in her high school career.

The junior from Avon has been a key to getting the Blue Streaks back on track after their consecutive state tournament appearance streak was snapped at 23 two years ago.

Corrao was a freshman that year. Last year she helped Magnificat return to state and finish ninth.

“I’m very excited for the season,” Corrao said. “I improved a lot over the summer and so did a lot of girls on the team. “We’ll be a lot stronger this year. We’re feeling pretty confident so far.”

A two-time state qualifier in floor exercise and a state qualifier in the all-around last year, Carrao tied for ninth at state in floor last winter with a score of 9.1 and was 20th in the all-around (34.95). Corrao tied for 23rd in floor as a freshman with a 9.0.

“Her consistency has improved the most,” Magnificat coach Joe Gura said. “She’s gained even more consistency over the summer and fall. Julia’s strength in floor is that’s she fast and that she has tumbling skills as good as anyone in the state.

“She shows it off very well with her dance.”

Julia Corrao

Julia Corrao

Magnificat has won 10 state titles, finished second six times and third five. The Blue Streaks have had 50 individual state champions, 37 individual runners-up. The program has also chalked up 13 districts titles and 12 sectional crowns.

With Magnificat’s resume of fantastic finishes, it’s easy to see why Corrao and her teammates have high standards.

“We started working out a few extra hours over the summer,” Corrao said. “During the season we average 12 hours a week in the gym, but in the summer we averaged 15. We’re working hard. We had some goals in mind. We want to do better (at state).”

Corrao loves all the events, but particularly floor exercise. It’s the one discipline that truly gives a reflection of a gymnast’s individual style.

“Floor is a good event to show off and express yourself,” Corrao said. “It shows your personality, the most out of all the events in gymnastics. I just love tumbling and I love dancing. The choreographer that developed my routine lets me pick out the music that’s my style. He gets to know me a little bit and then we develop the routine. He makes the routine based on what fits me.”

Corrao changed her floor music in June. She had used an instrumental version of the song, “On the floor,” by Jennifer Lopez. Her new music is by Dominic Vito. She believes it suits her much better.

“The music I used to before depicted more of a fun routine,” she said. “This year it has more of a serious tone, I guess because I’m more determined.
“I’ve spent a lot of time working on it, making it stronger and better. There were some parts of it that I struggled with last year. This year it’s all better.”

Corrao also changed her vault and has also been busy working and developing discipline for all her events.

“We’ve worked on doing a lot of bar routines and beam routines, practicing our skills over and over again,” she said. “We’ll do sets of five, sets of seven or sets of 10 routines or sets of skills. It’s helping a lot.”

“Julia’s gained strength, but she’s also consistent,” Gura said. “That’s why she’s technically sound on all the events. Julia has added difficulty since last year, like a double-flyaway dismount in uneven bars. Her double-back in floor is nicer now.”

Corrao is hoping the end of the season is as well.

Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.