Fifteen-year-old Alicia Kovalick surivived a drafty gym, an altered schedule and a fine performance by an injured rival to win the Specs Virginia Invitational all-around gymnastics title yesterday at Yorktown High School.
Kovalick a 5-foot-1, 85-pounder from Vienna, is a ninth grader at Madison and a member of the Specs Club. She captured three of four individual events en route to her fifth straight overall meet victory.
"I feel good," said Kovalick, who scored 35.55 out of a possible 40 points. "I wanted to score 36, which would be an average of nine, but considering the circumstances, I did good."
Besides the gymnasium chilliness that kept competitors in warmups most of the time, Kovalick had to deal with a schedule change.
Following her first-place score of 9.1 in the uneven bars, Kovalick and the Specs team went to a back room to practice for the balance beam. While waiting to go on the beam, the schedule was changed and Kovalick had to perform the floor exercise.
She scored a first-place 8.8 on the floor before completing an erratic series of moves on the beam. "I was really shaky on the beam," she said after losing her balance three times.
Despite the wobbly conclusion she won the beam and grabbed all-around honors, outpointing teammate Dana Wilcox by more than three points in the 15-and-over category.
One age level down, at 12-14, was Marie Robbins of Springfield, who probably would have given Kovalick a bit more competition had she not slammed her right index finger in a car door Saturday.
Robbins, 14, who has always competed closely with Kovalick, took all three events she entered but couldn't grip the bars well enough to complete her program. She averaged 9.0 and would have needed an 8.6 on the bars to beat Kovalick, who recently moved up in age group.
Both Kovalick and Robbins are using this season to prepare for the elite ranks, which lead to Olympic competition.
The highest score of the day was a 9.2 vault by Tracey Tilman of Gymnastic Inc. and Hampton, Va. She also won the 12-14-year-old overall title.