Miller Place gymnast blazing her own path
Gymnastics is grueling enough, even with the help and support of teammates and coaches. Sixteen-year-old Miller Place junior Jordan Ceccarini competes at the highest level for her age group with all of the pressure and physical toll that comes with gymnastics, minus that help and support. For her efforts, Ceccarini was honored by the district’s board of education at a meeting last week.
Miller Place doesn’t have a varsity gymnastics team. But beginning in eighth grade, Ceccarini represented Miller Place in competitions with the help of her outside club coach, Peter Neu.
“We wanted her to be a part of the school and participate in a sport, and this was the only way we could make that happen,” Jordan’s mom Dawn Ceccarini said. She and her husband Nick were extremely grateful for Superintendent Marianne Higuera’s and the board of education’s kind words about their daughter.
Ceccarini is a superstar in the local gymnastics world. She is classified as a level 10, the highest level of competition available for amateur gymnasts. The next step up is Olympic level. In 2013, as a level 9, she won the national championship for her age group in floor exercise. As a level 10, she placed ninth in the country on the balance beam, to go along with countless other state and regional accomplishments. In May, Ceccarini will travel to Texas to compete in nationals, representing the Northeastern region.
“I’m excited,” Ceccarini said. “I think winning is a little bit of a far reach, but I hope to place and do well.”
Her unassuming, humble outlook for a national tournament, which automatically implies a spot in the top 50 gymnasts in the country for her age group, was also noted by Miller Place athletic director Ron Petrie during the board of education meeting, along with her rare talent.
“That is just something that is not only unbelievable and impressive, we haven’t had something like this come to Miller Place since I’ve been here,” Petrie said. He’s served as the district’s athletic director since 2015, though he has taught and coached football at Miller Place since 2000.
Ceccarini, or “Momo,” as her mom said she’s also known, started doing gymnastics when she was 2 years old, at “mommy and me” classes, though it was around seventh grade that her mom said she might be special. Her five days per week, four hours per day practice schedule has netted Ceccarini a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh after she graduates from Miller Place in 2017. It has also cost her some normal 16-year-old social activities, like attending prom this year, though Ceccarini seems to take everything in stride, with the help of a competitive fire that both her mom and athletic director recognize.
Though she competed without the benefit of a coach or a team, Ceccarini’s time at Miller Place will not be forgotten after she leaves.
“I have no doubt that one day Jordan will be inducted into the Miller Place Athletic Hall of Fame as a result of her athletic achievements,” Higuera said.