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Success runs in the Sziron family

Superior High School’s Giselle Sziron poses for a photo during practice Tuesday evening. Sziron will participate in the state meet this weekend in Wisconsin Rapids. (Jed Carlson/

Gymnastics is a family legacy for Superior High School junior Giselle Sziron.

Her mother was a gymnast with a background in ballet, and her father was a gymnast for the Hungarian National Team.

“He was actually on his way to the Olympics,” Sziron said, but he was sidelined by an injury.

Sziron overcame an injury of her own in 2012 to become the first freshman ever from SHS to qualify for the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association state gymnastics meet, and this year she is returning to state as the lone representative for the Spartans.

“I actually wasn’t expecting it at all,” Sziron said. “After last year not making it, for some reason I just got down on myself.”

Sziron was eighth in the all-around last year and finished one place out of qualifying on floor. She missed a trip to state by just .025 points.

“This year going into it I’m really grateful, knowing that it’s not an every-year opportunity,” Sziron said. “I’m not really stressed. I’m going to try to do my best, but if I fall or anything I’m still going to be proud of myself knowing that I made it to state this year.”

Gymnastics has always been a family affair for Sziron, and according to her teammates, it shows.

“You can really tell when she does her routine,” said Kaitlyn DeJesus, a sophomore. “When she does her floor routine it’s just beautiful, and then when she tumbles it’s just all power.”

Sziron has been an aspiring gymnast since the age of two, following after her older sister, Monika, and mimicking her moves.

“She wanted to be like all the big girls,” said Jeanette Marshall, Sziron’s mother. “Everything her sister did she wanted to do, and Monika was a very good gymnast.”

Monika Sziron plans to watch her younger sister compete this weekend at the 2014 WIAA Gymnastics State Championships. The state meet begins today with team competition at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids. The individual competition begins at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Sziron will be competing on the uneven bars and the all-around.

In 2012, Sziron qualified for state on floor by placing fifth at sectionals with a score of 8.725. Sziron scored a 9.050 on floor this year but finished in a tie for tenth.

“The section meet was very, very intense,” said Heidi Larsen, head coach of the Spartans. “There was a lot of high competition, especially for the floor, which is one of Giselle’s better events.”

The competition on floor was the strongest it’s been in years, Larsen said, but for Sziron that didn’t matter. The junior does well in all four events and entered the sectional meet hoping to advance in the all-around.

Sziron scored a 8.950 on the uneven bars and a 35.500 in the all-around at the Eau Claire sectional meet to place third in both events. Olivia Koehler of Hudson won the sectional all-around title with a score of 35.625.

“Giselle just had a great all-around. She was just tenths away from first place,” Larsen said.

At state, Sziron will compete in all four events, but she can earn a medal only in the uneven bars or the all-around.

Bailey Fitzpatrick of Burlington/Badger/Catholic Central/Wilmot returns as the two-time defending champion on the uneven bars. She scored a 9.600 on the bars to win last year’s state title and enters this year’s competition with a 9.625 score from the Burlington sectional event.

The all-around competition is filled with top-quality gymnasts. Larsen expects Sziron to gain an advantage with her scores on beam and bars, but she doesn’t have specific goals for the junior.

“I hope she’s on and sticks it like her sectionals,” Larsen said.

For that, Sziron may need another boost from her family like she received at the sectional meet, when her relatives turned out en masse.

“Normally I don’t see half as much of my family as I did at sectionals,” Sziron said. “My mom surprised me. I had an idea that my stepdad was coming, but then he pretended he was sick, so he wasn’t going to be able to come.”

Sziron didn’t catch on to her stepfather’s ruse until he showed up at the meet with her mother. About 10 minutes after that, another wave of relatives walked into the gym — Sziron’s niece and nephew, her stepbrother and his wife.

“I was emotional when I first saw my mom, and then when I saw my other family I started tearing up. And I was right about to go on beam!” Sziron said. “But I actually think that’s what made me concentrate more on beam. I was really nervous about falling off, so I think that got my mind off it a little bit.”

“She was in the zone that meet,” Larsen said. “Her family came, and she was just super, super happy. They got her in a better mood.”