JCC gymnastics sticks landing with perfect 10, TAAF award

By Brian Bateman

Photos: JCC gymnastics Hannah Gaswirth stands atop the podium after scoring a perfect 10.00. Coach Debbie Weinstein said everyone went wild when the then-third-grader’s score was announced.

The Dallas JCC’s gymnastics teams have a history of success, but two gymnasts may have leaped the group’s lofty ambitions.
Hannah Gaswirth, a soon-to-be fourth-grader, scored a perfect 10.00 at her April 11 meet, while 14-year-old Rachel Berkowitz earned the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation’s top award.
A perfect 10.00 score is rarely seen at any level, and although the ratings system has been altered at the highest levels of professional competition, it’s still in play in lower classifications.
“We’ve never had one at the JCC,” Gymnastics Director Debbie Weinstein said. “A teammate had gone in front of her and got a 9.45. (Hannah) is a very determined kid. She kind of watched everyone else and knew how to improve on it.”
Gaswirth scored the mark at AFI gymnastics at Firewheel in Garland.
Meanwhile, Berkowitz’ achievement came at the TAAF spring banquet. The award is for those athletes that embody for what the TAAF stands.
“She’s very selfless. She’s just as happy if her teammate wins as if she wins,” Weinstein said. “She gives 100 percent.”
Berkowitz may not have even made it back to the gym if it wasn’t for that attitude. After a May 2014 back injury, she was placed in a back brace for most of last year.
Her ability to return to the sport was questionable, Weinstein said, but her resolve proved otherwise.
“She came back and coached other girls. She had to modify her events and compete at different levels, but she never gave up and kept going,” Weinstein said.
Berkowitz will attend ninth grade at Shepton secondary school in Plano. The JCC’s summer gymnastics camps are full. The competition season begins next January.

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