Walking across a beam that is roughly four inches wide, 16.5 feet long that is four feet off the ground would be tough for anyone, but gymnasts at the top level make it look easy as they literally dance across it during a three-to-four-minute routine.
Christiansburg High School student Brooklyn Proccacio made it look easy, bringing the crowd to their feet. Saturday, the 15-year-old scored a 9.450 on the beam during the Level 10 competition (one of the highest in the sport) at the 16th Annual Rockstar Invitational at the Christiansburg Recreation Center. She would receive silver in the event.
This past year, she participated in the Eastern Nationals and Regionals where she finished seventh. She also finished fourth in the Beam at state competition. On Saturday, onlooking judges called her a “rising star.”
Proccacio is one of the local athletes, who discovered there was no gymnastics at her high school, thus she turned to Virginia Techniques, a Christiansburg gym that has turned out its share of successful gymnasts.
Over 1,100 athletes competed in this week’s competition, and according to Virginia Technique’s Cheryl Johnson which hosts the event, the numbers have continued to grow almost every year.
“Participation in gymnastics continues to rise,” she said.
The Christiansburg gym listed 110 of its own participants with 21 gyms being represented this weekend from five different states. A similar event is slated to be held later this year.
Proccacio was one of those Virginia Techniques representatives and follows in the footsteps of six previous gymnasts that are all participating at the next level in college including University of Kentucky All-American Rae Worley.
“I was never at the gym when she coached or participated, but I know some of the others,” Proccacio said.
The teenager recently attended camp at the University of North Carolina where her interest was peaked even more.
“I want to be a gymnast at the next level,” she said after the Rockstar Invitational on Sunday. She is leaning toward UNC.
Her mother says Brooklyn was doing cartwheels at the age of four so relatives told her you have to get her into gymnastics. The rest seems to be history as she has fell in love with the sports and practices five times a week.
She also participates in the floor exercise, bars and vault, but the beam is her favorite.
Proccacio admits she has fallen off the beam several times in practice and competition, but she just gets right back up and climbs back on the beam.
She is scheduled to participate in state and regional competition later this year.