Gymnastics: Mantilla becomes first from Gilroy to qualify for regionals

Marcela Mantilla practices giant swings on the uneven bars in preparation for the upcoming Regional Championships.

GILROY—Gilroy gymnast Marcela Mantilla hasn’t competed since 2013, but she hasn’t been taking it easy either.
The 12-year-old South Valley Middle School student spent the 2014 competition honing her skills and training—and her hard work has paid off. 
Mantilla scored a stellar 34.975 points and NorCal Level 7 State Gymnastics Meet in Rancho Cordova and became the first USA Sports gymnast from Gilroy to qualify for the Regional Championships. The regional meet will be held May 1-3 in Long Beach and features gymnasts from around the state, as well as Nevada, Arizona and Utah.
“The competition will be tough, but Marcela is a strong competitor,” USA Sports Optionals Coach Danielle Bunel said in a press release. “She is putting everything she has into making skill corrections and fixing the smallest details in her routines.”
Mantilla is leaps and bounds ahead of where she finished during the 2013 season. She took fourth on the uneven bars with a score of 8.325 at the Level 5 State Meet.
This time, she was a whole season of training stronger and it allowed her to bypass Level 6 competition.
She scored a solid 9.075 in the floor exercise and a 9.00 on the vault. Mantilla notched an 8.35 on the balance beam and an 8.55 in floor routines.
“It’s a big jump to skip Level 6 completely like Marcela did,” Bunel said. “There are many changes in optionals that she had to adjust to, including learning personalized routines and more difficult skills. To qualify for Regionals in her first year is impressive.”