Gymnastics: Gilroy’s Mantilla shines at Regionals

Marcela Mantilla performs her floor exercise at the NorCal state meet.

GILROY—Marcela Mantilla made her first trip to the Regional Championships count.
The 12-year-old South Valley Middle School gymnast took on competitors from around the Golden State, as well as Nevada, Arizona and Utah at the Level 7 Regional Championships May 1-3 in Long Beach and did her gym—USA Sports—and Gilroy proud.
Mantilla shined in the floor exercise, scoring a 9.425. She competed to “Gypsy Rhapsody”, which was tailored for her by her mother and dance coach, Lucy Accornero. Mantilla showed off her powerful tumbling skills during the routine, performing a high flying back layout and a front handspring front tuck.
On the vault, she nailed a front handspring to score an 8.95. She moved on to the balance beam and seamlessly executed a walkover back handspring to notch an 8.825.
Mantilla only faltered on the uneven bars, where she’s placed highly before, but recovered to score an 8.025.
“She really handled the pressure well,” USA Sports Optionals Coach Danielle Bunel said in a press release. “These are the best of the best gymnasts and she didn’t back down.”
Mantilla, who skipped a year of competition to train, was back in the gym the following Monday in an effort to keep improving. The young gymnast spends 15-20 hours a week training at the optional level.
“She will definitely be a force to be reckoned with,” Bunel said.