Our next 20 Questions athlete is Palmers Gymnastics Level 10 Cassandra Barbanente. Cassi, who is a sophomore in high school, is a beautifully powerful gymnast who exudes strong long, sharp lines in her gymnastics. I truly first noticed this athlete at the 2017 Region 5 Championships, it was her powerful vault that caught my eye, I knew this young lady was something special and that we would see her at the JO Nationals. Well, I was correct, Cassi qualified, along with her teammate, to her first JO National Championships. Not only did she qualify, but she contributed in a big way with hit routines, helping her Junior C finish atop the podium as National Team Champions (as did her teammate). Cassi, is a talented young athlete with a few more years ahead of her and a few more years to represent Region 5. Let’s get to know Cassi a little better as she heads into Championship season with Region 5 Championships in just over two weeks. Good Luck to Cassi as she tries to make her 2nd JO National Championships.
How did you get into gymnastics? How old were you? I started when I was three at the local park district because my mom wanted me to release some energy!
What is your Favorite Event? My favorite event varies a lot but usually, I would say vault is my favorite.
Favorite Skill to train/compete? My favorite skill to compete is my double layout on bars. I also enjoy training my double lay full outs.
Dream Skill? My dream skill is a yurchenko double full.
What is your favorite part of gymnastics? My favorite part of gymnastics is learning a new skill and finally getting it for the first time.
What college do you plan on attending? I would like to attend a Division 1 collegewith solid academics and great school spirit. I don’t know exactly where yet but will hopefully figure that out in the near future.
What is your favorite meet to compete at? Why? My favorite meet to compete at is Circle of Stars because the competition is always very good and I enjoy being in Indianapolis.
Biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far? My biggest accomplishment is being able to compete as a level 10 and especially being able to compete at JO Nationals last season. It was an amazing experience!
Who do you most admire in the sport of gymnastics? I most admire my coaches (and all coaches) who show complete dedication and come to the gym everyday to help me see the gymnast I can become and not just the gymnast I am today.
What is your favorite Region 5 Insider Feature or Series? I enjoy all of the region 5 videos but my favorites lately have been the videos from the Gymnasts View.
What is your go to playlist or song before meets? go with whatever I’m feeling that day. Usually an upbeat spotify playlist is exactly what I need.
3 Things you could not live without? I couldn’t live without my family, myheadphones, and my Joshua Tree for my hands.
If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why? I would love to be a bird because I could see the world from above.
5 Most important or must have items in your gym bag? I need my Gatorade chews, my grip bag, my headphones, water, and tape.
Do you have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions? I never like to look into my grip bag before a meet. I never have and I probably never will.
What do you like to do outside of gymnastics? I like to ski, I like to play sports and spend time with my family and friends.
Most embarrassing meet moment or gymnastics moment? When I was a level 4 and had to run to the bathroom in the middle of bars. I was screaming in the bathroom because I thought I saw a spider. I got a lot of embarrassing attention!
If you weren’t a gymnast, what sport would you do or try? I would probably do softball or skiing because I have tried both and enjoy them very much.
Which athletes (any sport) do you respect the most and why? I have a lot respect for Chicago Cub, Anthony Rizzo. He spent many years struggling with his sport and his health. He had Hodgkins Lymphoma early in his career and did not let it get in the way of his baseball dreams and he helped lead the Cubs to a World Series title. His story and the foundation he built is an inspiration and the way he gives back to children battling cancer is nothing short of amazing.
What is the most valuable piece of advice or wisdom your coach has given you? You need to make sacrifices to succeed.
Bonus Question: Tell me something interesting about yourself……….I adore white sand beaches including playing countless hours of beach volleyball with friends. I also love Italian cooking because both of my grandmas are born in Italy and love to feed their grandkids!