Yeakel, Mangahas excel at annual meet
Jada Mangahas and Anna Yeakel’s journeys have been eerily similar.
Both are Parkland residents who participate in gymnasts at Parkettes. Mangahas started with mommy-and-me classes around four years old; Yeakel began at the age of two when her mother signed her up. Since then, both have seen plenty of success in the sport.
In one of the more recent events, the 43rd Annual Parkettes Invitational in late January, both had successful showings. Mangahas, a freshman at Parkland High School that competes in the 14 and under division, finished second in all around with a total score of 37.325. Yeakel came in 14th place in her division, respectively.
“My scoring was kind of low, but I placed pretty high for my age group,” Mangahas said, who competes at Level 10. “It was a really good meet for me.”
Yeakel also competes at Level 10, her first year at that rank.
“This is my first year, and I’m happy with how I’ve been doing,” Yeakel said. “There’s a pretty big difference in difficulty. You’re introduced to harder skills.
“It wasn’t my best meet, but I did really well on vault. I got a 9.4, which I was really happy about. The rest wasn’t as good for me.”
Her score of 9.4 was the highest she has ever gotten on the vault exercise. She took 14th in the bars exercise, 15th in beam and 16th in floor at Parkettes’ home meet that hosted gymnasts from all over the country and some from England and Argentina.
“That was my last event [of the Parkettes meet] … Since I wasn’t doing well and this was my home gym, it made me really determined to do well in that last event,” Yeakel said. “It doesn’t feel too different, but it feels cool seeing people from other countries in the same room competing against you.”
Mangahas finished in a tie for first place in the vault with a score of 9.675. The freshman also placed fourth in the beam and floor exercises, and finished her all around score with a seventh-place mark in bars.
“I expected it to be pretty difficult because there was a lot of gymnasts coming into it that were Elites or higher rankings than me,” Mangahas said. “But I think it was a really fun meet, other than the difficulty. I think it went a lot better than I expected.”
Looking ahead, Mangahas and Yeakel have their eyes set on states and regionals first and foremost. States will be held this weekend in Williamsport, and regionals will take place shortly after in Maryland.
“I’m excited for states because it’s a team effort and we’re trying to win as a team,” Mangahas said. “It’s a lot of fun.
“Once states is over I want to get ready for regionals and shoot at making nationals. I think seven people go from each region and each age group. You just have to hit a certain score at states to get to regionals.”
Mangahas qualified nationals two years ago, and she believes that was one of her best seasons in the sport. She’s hoping to reach that mountaintop once again.
Yeakel, too, has qualified for states and regionals before. However, nationals have avoided her up to this point. That’s a trend she is looking to reverse in the upcoming weeks.
“I’ve qualified for states and regionals so far in Level 9,” Yeakel said. “I’ve qualified for states this year, and I’m pretty confident I’ll qualify for regionals … It’s more nationals that will be a challenge at trying to make.
“It will be a big challenge for me, but I think I have a chance if I have a really good meet.”