It’s been decades since Huntington High School has sponsored a girls’ gymnastics team, but one of the top young gymnasts in the state and nation is walking its halls in sophomore Sophia Kaloudis.
The Blue Devils won the county championship in 1968, but Huntington hasn’t had a gymnastics team in about 45 years. That hasn’t stopped Ms. Kaloudis from giving the sport everything she has and developing into a skilled and accomplished competitor.
“From an early age, I was full of energy and determination,” Ms. Kaloudis said. “At four years old, I began taking recreational gym classes at a local gym in Huntington. Always eager to try and learn new skills, I quickly progressed and joined the USAG team and began competing as a Level 4 gymnast in 2014. At my first ever meet, I won first place in the all-around, as well as in all of the events, which include vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. I had a great day and knew then this was something I wanted to continue doing.”
Ms. Kaloudis was so good that she skipped over Level 5 and at the 2016 state championships she placed third in the all-around among Level 6 competitors. “I advanced to Level 8 for the 2017 and 2018 seasons,” she proudly said.
In 2018, Ms. Kaloudis was named to America’s Top 100 on uneven bars with a score of 9.725. She was the 2018 Level 8 all-around state champion and also captured state titles in the vault and uneven bars. She went on to compete on the New York State Level 8 super team at the Region 6 championships, placing fourth in the all-around.
The teenager continued to improve and in 2019, Ms. Kaloudis won the Level 9 regional championships in uneven bars and floor exercise and was third in the all-around. She qualified for the Level 9 Eastern National in Kissimmee, Florida, placing fourth on the uneven bars.
In March 2020, Ms. Kaloudis was again named to America’s Top 100 with a score of 9.775 in floor exercise, which she garnered at the Arnold Gymnastics Challenge finals in Columbus, Ohio.
The teenager changed gyms in the summer of 2020 and engaged in Level 10 training at Apex Athletics in St. James. Ms. Kaloudis currently trains there five days a week covering a combined total of more than 20 hours.
In 2021, Ms. Kaloudis captured gold medals in all-around, vault and floor exercise for Level 10 (which is the highest level is USAG gymnastics) at the Region 6 Championships in Springfield, Massachusetts. The performance qualified her for the Junior Olympic National Championships in Daytona Beach, where she finished fourth in the nation with a high score of 38.2 in the all-around. That earned her a spot on the Junior Olympic national team. “It was a career highlight for me and a moment I am very proud of,” she said about the nationals.
The teenager is always striving to improve. “In July, I traveled to Indianapolis to attend the developmental program’s national camp for the first time,” Ms. Kaloudis said. “This was a great opportunity for me to work with the nation’s top coaches and fellow gymnasts.”
The demands of training have prevented Ms. Kaloudis from taking on too many extracurricular commitments. “However last year, I joined Key Club,” she said. “I enjoy the club very much and raising money for a good cause has always been something I felt strongly about taking part in. I will participate in the club this year and hopefully continue with it throughout my high school years.”
A member of the high school’s orchestra, Ms. Kaloudis plays violin. It’s an instrument she took up as a fourth grader. She’s always had a passion for music.
“Right now my hope is to attend a top NCAA Division I college and compete on the gymnastics team,” the sophomore said. “I am considering studying heath science and biology for a future career in the field of medicine.”
Ms. Kaloudis spent this past summer attending several high level gymnastics camps on college campuses around the country “in preparation for and with the hope of competing on the Division I college level one day,” she said. “These camps are a great opportunity for me to improve my skills as well as learn more about the schools to help me make my college selection.”
The teenager got her start in Huntington UFSD as a kindergartener at Flower Hill Primary School. “I think Huntington is a great school district with so much to offer both inside and out of school,” Ms. Kaloudis said. “It accommodates everyone and always has great events and very worthy fundraisers.”