One of the smallest and least assuming girls at a gymnastics meet is also one of the biggest stars.
For Bishop Ahr High School gymnast Julianna Drapkin, having the will to win drives her to be one of the very best in all of New Jersey.
After a season where she came within 0.050 of a second straight state title, Drapkin has emerged as the Greater Middlesex Conference’s best.
“In my 13 seasons, Julianna is definitely in the top-10 of gymnasts I’ve had at Bishop Ahr,” head coach Brant Lutska said. “She’s very focused on what she has to do and she knows exactly how to prepare. She’s a very independent worker and makes changes when they need to be made. Julianna’s a joy to work with.”
Drapkin is The Home News Tribune’s Gymnast of the Year.
“It’s a great reward for me because I’ve put in a lot of work and that was a goal of mine to be Gymnast of the Year,” Drapkin said.
The star sophomore added to her resume in 2013, by winning the GMC Tournament’s All-Around title in late October with a score of 37.95, and the North II sectional after posting 38.35.
But Drapkin refused to get too excited about her performances on those two Saturdays, instead saying that she had room to improve.
Regarding the GMC meet, Drapkin said “it wasn’t her best meet,” but she was “happy with how I did.” Speaking about the North II meet, in which Drapkin won all four events going away, she said she just “needs to work on being cleaner in all events.”
It seems like Drapkin may be nitpicking just a bit, but Lutska knows that Drapkin is one of the more consistent gymnasts in the entire state.
“She went four-for-four just about every meet this season and never fell. In my eye, she was the most consistent kid in the state all year,” Lutska said. “She barely went below 38 All-Around and at the North II sectional, it was a great day for her to shine and show everyone how strong an athlete she is.”
Drapkin said her favorite event is the floor, where she scored the fourth-highest mark in the state this season at 9.675. In fact, Drapkin registered seven of the 25 highest all-around marks this season, showing just how consistent she is.
“I worked on a couple of different things, on the floor and vault and they helped me a lot this season,” Drapkin said. “And I added a toe show on bars, so that also helped me improve a good amount from last year to this year.”
After coming so close to winning state individual titles in her first two seasons, Drapkin plans on coming back in 2014 and reclaiming the top spot statewide. But being part of a successful team is more important to her than any individual accolades.
“It’s great to be part of this team; it’s definitely something that I’ll remember,” she said. When we won GMCs, it was like the best day ever. We’ve worked so hard and routine after routine we just kept getting better, so to win was awesome. I’m hoping to win another team title in each of the next two years and that’s an important goal for me.”