Sophomore gymnast wins at state and regional meets
Standing at exactly five feet, sophomore Danielle Jonas-Delson may not be tall, but her long list of gymnastics accomplishments show that some things are not about size. Jonas- Delson has been the Northern California state champion for four years in a row and has won first place in other, more recent competitions. Jonas-Delson was this year’s state and regional champion. However, the current guidelines for waiving out of the second year of PE do not allow Jonas-Delson’s gymnastic season to count, despite the constant hard work and training she puts in.
Jonas-Delson has been involved with gymnastics for 10 years now, but she first got into the sport because of a hearing impairment.
“When my sister and I were little, our physical therapist recommended that we take a gymnastics class to improve our balance,” Jonas-Delson said. She has “mild to moderate hearing loss” in both ears and though balance problems are often associated with this condition, she has not had any further complications. Jonas-Delson joined the Novato Gymnastics team when she was 6 years old and has been dedicated to the sport ever since.
“I love competing at meets and performing my routines, because I like to see my hard work pay off,” she said.
For the beam, her best event, Jonas-Delson scored a 9.85 out of 10 for her performance at the Regional Championships in Reno, Nevada and a 9.725 at the Level 8 State Championships in Hayward, CA. The gymnast starts their routine with 10 points and, depending on their quality of performance, a panel of judges will deduct points. The higher the score, the lower the number of mistakes made. Her 9.85 beam score is currently the nation’s third highest beam score for 2018. Jonas-Delson was also state champion this year for her floor routine, which scored a 9.5.
“Danielle thrives on working to make things perfect by doing them over and over and over again,” Kerry Proctor, Jonas-Delson’s coach, said. “This serves her particularly well on the balance beam as it is an event that requires precision and repetition to gain consistency and confidence.”
In 2017, Jonas-Delson made the Northern California State Team for her performance at the Northern California State Championships. The State Team is comprised of the top 12 gymnasts at the state level, based on their cumulative score of the four events, including beam, floor, vault and uneven bars. The 12 girls then compete on one team together at the regional competition, instead of with their regular teams.
“[Danielle’s] attention to detail is evident in everything she does,” Proctor said. “She always puts in full effort on every turn she takes, whether it be the most difficult skill she is performing or a simple warm up exercise. She is always thinking about what she is doing and how she can make it better.”
During this season, which ran from January to April, Jonas-Delson did not compete with the State Team, but she placed first on the uneven bars, beam, floor and all-around competing with the Novato Gymnastics Team.
“Winning even one event at Regionals is something to be proud of,” Proctor said about Jonas-Delson’s wins.
Although she trains for 19 hours each week and said that she thinks “there are some sports that you can get out of PE for that are a lot less physically demanding than gymnastics,” Jonas-Delson is currently unable to waive her second year of physical education, because gymnastics is not a San Marin sport. The school requires all students to complete two years of physical education, but students are allowed to waive the requirement if they complete two seasons of a California Interscholastic Federation approved sport and pass five of the six California Physical Fitness Tests. Jonas-Delson has not fulfilled her second year of PE yet, because she and her twin sister, Elise, who is also a gymnast, are trying to get the NUSD Board of Trustees to change the policy to allow gymnastics to count for a second year of PE.
“Last year I took [PE] and it was really difficult to do PE and gymnastics at the same time, because it’s difficult to run two miles and then have to go to gymnastics practice,” she said.