Local gymnast qualifies for 2016 national championships


Caroline Balcita, 14, of St. Augustine is competing this week in the USA Gymnastics Rhythmic National Championship being held in Providence, R.I.

Balcita, a Level 10/Elite Rhythmic gymnast who trains out of World Rhythmics Gymnastics in Jacksonville, placed in the top 25 in the country at the national qualifying event held recently at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. By finishing in the top 25, Balcita qualified to join 1,800 of the country’s best gymnasts, acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline and tumbling in Providence for the Junior Olympic competition. If the United States qualifies for the 2016 Olympic Games for rhythmic gymnastics and/or trampoline, the USA Gymnastics Championships will be part of the Olympic selection for those two disciplines.

A rhythmic gymnast for eight years, Balcita has experienced success in 2016, with season highlights including 2016 Level 10 Florida State Champion, 2016 Level 10 Region 6 Champion, and most recently, placing 11th at the USAG National Qualifier to earn her trip to Providence. Her 11th-place finish also marked the second year in a row she’s placed in the top 25 at the USAG National Qualifier.

An invited member of the USA Gymnastics Rhythmic Elite Squad, Balcita has the opportunity to train twice yearly at either the Karolyi Ranch outside of Houston, or the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Balcita is a straight-A student at Liberty Pines Academy where she is in the eighth grade. She will attend Bartram Trails High School in the fall.