Sticking with gymnastics pays off for Castino
In this Jan. 27, 2012, photo, Glenbrook South's Kaci Castino competes in the floor exercise during the CSL South Division Conference Championships at Evanston High School. | Michael Jarecki ~ for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2013 1:49PM
Glenbrook South girls gymnast Kaci Castino nearly gave up gymnastics shortly after she started competing for the North Suburban YMCA club team when she was in fourth grade, according to her mother Debbie Castino.
“There were times early on where she questioned whether or not she wanted to continue competing,” said Debbie Castino, who was a gymnast at Palatine High School. “I just always encouraged her to follow her passion. She ended up developing and loving it.”
Now, the sophomore is leading the way for the Titans. Her accomplishments this year are even more impressive considering how Kaci Castino missed about half of last season with a torn ligament in her foot.
Kaci Castino started off the year by tying for first place in the all-around on Nov. 20 against Elk Grove. Just nine days later, she won the Maine East meet outright with a score of 31.25, which included an 8.95 on the floor. At the Evanston Invitational on Jan. 5, Kaci Castino surpassed eight points in all four events and finished fifth in the all-around with a score of 32.7.
A lot of this success can be attributed to moves new to Kaci Castino this year, such as the giants or the layout flyaway on uneven bars.
“Giants, I really did not think that would happen this year,” Kaci Castino said of her improvements since last year. “It’s really coming together.”
But this success would not have taken place if not for her mom’s motivation and her upbringing at her local YMCA.
“She was really quiet when she started and just developed into such a wonderful leader and a such a wonderful person,” said Carol Sassorossi, Sports and Gymnastics Director of the North Suburban YMCA.
Kaci Castino is so tied to the place where it all started that she even texts Sassorossi videos of her routines after meets.
“As soon as she texts me, believe me, I pass it on to the other coaches,” said Sassorossi, who taught Kaci Castino for five years. “We all follow her. She is the pride of the ‘Y’ here.”
It’s Kaci Castino’s top-notch attitude that endears her to her current coach, Glenbrook South’s Steve Gale.
“When she ends up on her back or on her face on the floor, she always gets up with a smile on her face,” Gale said. “The glass is always half full. It’s a wonderful type of attitude to have and it makes it very easy to coach.”