Ava Piedrahita, a 2022 graduate of Damascus High School has been named Penn State student-athlete of the week. Ava, a native of Gaithersburg, also attended John T. Baker Middle School in Damascus. According to her website, Ava started gymnastics because her sister Kaitlyn was in gymnastics back in 2007 and she was just tagging along running around in the waiting room. She started with recreational classes for a couple of years then was invited to team at Hill’s Gymnastics in Gaithersburg.
Penn State on Ava: “In the first Big Ten meet of her career against No. 16 Minnesota, Piedrahita shined with three career-highs in a fantastic all-around competition for the freshman. The freshman started off her night with a 9.800 on bars as one of four Nittany Lions to post a 9.800-or-better on the apparatus. She continued with a career-best 9.875 on vault, which led the team in the event and became Penn State’s best mark on the apparatus this season. Her career-best 9.775 on the balance beam closed out the night for her and helped her set a new lifetime best 39.225 in the all-around to claim second place in the meet. The score also became Penn State’s best all-around mark in the 2023 season. In a tough Big Ten road environment, the freshman rose to the occasion and performed extremely well for the Nittany Lions”
Additional information on Ava, per Penn State Athletics: Competed at Hill’s Gymnastics for coaches Cynthia Smaha and Amy Martelli…- Made the Region 7 all-star team in 2019 and 2021…Placed second at nationals in 2021 and fifth at nationals in 2022…Three-time Regional champion in 2019, 2021, and 2022…Qualified for Nastia Liukin Cup in 2018 and 2019…Placed third in the all around at Nastia Liukin Cup in 2019.