The 2016 Level 9 Eastern Nationals were held April 28-May 1 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Unfortunately our Media Team was not able to attend the competition, so we asked coaches, parents and athletes to send us videos, pictures, updates and for the All-Around Champions to fill out our Region 5 National Champions Q&A.
Lets meet Dominique Militello of Bay Valley Academy from Bay City, Michigan. Dominique is the 2016 Level 9 Senior 7 Eastern National All-Around, Vault and Floor Champion.
CONGRATULATIONS!!!! How does it feel to be the 2016 Level 9 Eastern National All-Around Champion?
It feels like what I have worked for for two years has finally came true!!
Tell us how your meet went for you? Walk us through each moment of your day, Warm-Ups, events Etc……
I had an amazing competition. I went into the day with a really good mindset. Miss Nanci has us make our Regional/National teammates cards to hand out and as a way to get to know everyone, so I passed mine out when we all got on the floor. I led our warm up: running, stretching, and line basics. Our first event was bars. My warm up went well and our camaraderie was great. My competition bar routine was comparable to what I train. I took a small hop on my dismount, but I was happy with the routine after having a small fluke with it at Regionals. I nailed beam warm ups and we were happy with my competition beam routine which earned a 9.35. Throughout training day, my practice at the host gym, and on competition day, I didn’t miss a single element on beam; it wasn’t necessarily a goal but definitely helped with my confidence. Floor was next and it is my favorite event to perform. My coaches gathered our team and really pumped us up prior to starting warm ups…. It was Region 5’s time to shine.
Warm ups went well and I think it was my best in-competition floor routine of the season. I received a 9.475 on the routine. Lastly was vault. Warm ups went well for our entire team. When I competed my first vault I looked at my couch, Miss Nanci, and said, “I can do better.” so I went back to do my second vault and it was one of the best I could have done. And it was good enough to give me another gold medal and a score of 9.425! My record high for level 9 on vault! One thing I really loved about vault is that after each girl completed we lined up along the runway and high fived each girl as she came down. I was overwhelmed during awards. Feeling so honored, grateful, and thrilled that my hard work this season paid off. When they announced my name as the All Around champion, I felt tears of joy well up in the corner of my eyes. Oh the pride I felt when they called my name for Level 9 Senior 7 Eastern National Champion! After I saluted and went back to my seat, I couldn’t help but cry. What I had worked for for two years had finally become a reality. It was a feeling too good to describe!
What do you normally do between events to stay focused and read for the next event?
Between events to stay focused I usually do an arm through of my routines and close my eyes, visualizing myself doing it to the best of my ability. Miss Nanci always tells us to imagine excellence, because she is not expecting us to be perfect. Staying warm is probably the hardest part. I might do some drills or jump on the floor or a mat. I also do calf and hamstring stretches because it is proven to keep your mind calm and relaxedTell us about the atmosphere of the meet compared to regular season meets you have been too.
What is it like being part of Region 5 at Eastern Nationals?
The atmosphere at Nationals was very different from the atmosphere at Invitationals. Everyone there had worked so hard for the honor to represent their Region. Region 5 is so much more about the team and family atmosphere than the other regions. We take “competing for the person next to you seriously.” We all cheered each other on and congratulated one another regardless of the routine. It was nice having the girls I’m usually competing against on the same team as me for a change.
How has your experience been here at Nationals? What have you been doing besides competing?
Being part of Region 5 is such a wonderful experience and it really is a great feeling. We all have each others back. I have made friends through the training camps and throughout the season that I talk to often. Everyone is willing to be a friend. Region 5 is a family…. We are sisters through gymnastics.
When the meet is over what is or what was the first thing you did to celebrate your win?
I had a wonderful experience at nationals. I got to go to the beach, enjoy different local restaurants, and ride a hoverboard on the boardwalk (after I competed of course). My BVA teammate and I went shopping at the beachfront stores. I loved that the banquet was at the aquarium! My favorite extracurricular activity was definitely riding horses on the oceanfront!
Other than becoming National Champion, what was one highlight of the meet for you?
My family is Italian, so we went to this AMAZING italian restaurant to celebrate my meet! It was authentic Italian food that we all really enjoyed!!
Anything crazy or funny happen during your competition?
The funniest/crazy thing that happened during my meet was when I back smacked the floor after my round off whip…. Miss Nanci didn’t think it was so funny….
How does Region 5 compare to the other Regions out on the competition floor? what sets Region 5 apart?
The thing that sets Region 5 apart from the other regions is hands down the team spirit and what our coaches do for us. From the matching apparel, special cheers, tattoos and rhinestones, we are just a step ahead. Our gymnastics is clean too. It is easy to see that there is a lot of competition is Region 5 and we push each other to be better each season
Who inspired you the most during your competition or day? What did they say to you? How did you get amped up and motivated to compete?
My coach inspired me most during my meet. Miss Nanci always knows exactly what to say before every routine I do. She gives the best pep talks and always reminds me that she loves and believes in me. We are taught so much more than just gymnastics or dance with her. She instills leadership qualities in myself and my teammates.
Check out Dominique’s Routines from Nationals Below
For more coverage of the 2016 Eastern National Championships Click Here