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J Star gymnasts had something of a home advantage at an hip hop-themed invitational held at Drury High School.
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J Star Gymnastics-Hosted Invitational Brought 200 Athletes to City

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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More than 200 athletes compete at Drury High School. 

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — J Star Gymnastics hosted an invitational at Drury High School that brought more than 200 young athletes to the city.

Gym owner Jon Girard had a busy week when the seven gymnastics schools from Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island descended upon the city to compete in the Hip Hop Classic invitational. 
"We did it here last year but we wanted it to be bigger so from here on out it will be at Drury," he said. "Unless it gets even larger then we would need a bigger space which is the end goal."
Girard said J Star inherited the invitational from a Brattleboro Vt., gym that were happy to see it live on. 
"They wanted to see this thing live so we have used the original decorations but we try to keep adding to the hip hop feel and making it better," he said. "This year, we did custom leotards and custom medals."
Girard said his girls typically compete in an invitational twice a month. The scores count toward their season.
"Certain levels have to do X amount of meets or get a qualifying score to move on to states," he said.
The invitational ran Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 29 and March 1, and took a whole day of set up to get all of the rented equipment in place. From there, Girard said he relied on parents who volunteered to make sure the event ran properly.
"It has to be super organized and all of the parents have to have specific jobs in order for it to go smoothly," Girard said. "To keep all of the sessions running on time with as many kids as we could fit."
The athletes compete in events — vault, bars, beam, and floor — where they can place in different skill levels. 
Girard added that the Athletic Training Department at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts also stepped in to help with on-site medical trainers. He said it helped the students work toward their hours in the field.
J Star performed well throughout with Level 6 athletes taking third place and others placing. He added a lot of the girls posted some of their best scores of the season. 
Girard said he wasn't sure if there was such a thing as a home gym advantage because the equipment is rented but did acknowledge that not having to travel was a good thing. 
"They really liked not having to wake up at 4 in the morning to drive two hours, which is usually the closest invitational," he said. "We are so far west."
He said J Star would like to host more competitions locally and bring more athletes to the Berkshires. He said he hopes to grow the invitational from 200 to 400 to, hey why not, 600 gymnasts.
"It would get really stuffy in Drury," he said. "We would really have to use one of the colleges or a larger venue."
He said bringing such large events to the city would help grow the sport of gymnastics locally.
"A lot of people came to watch some awesome gymnastics and saw how well the girls did," Girard said.

Tags: gymnastics,   tournament,   

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Biz Briefs: Big Y Closing Stores for Thanksgiving Holiday

Big Y Giving Workers Two Days Off

Big Y has issued a reminder that it will close all stores including Big Y World Class Markets, Table & Vine and Fresh Acres specialty market on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, as well as Friday Nov. 27. Big Y Express Gas & Convenience locations will be closed on Thanksgiving Day as well.
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Big Y also closed on Easter Sunday and Monday (April 12 & 13) in order to give its teams some much needed rest. In addition to these days of rest for their employees, Big Y has provided thank-you pay and now thank-you bonuses for front-line workers in recognition of their continued commitment to each other and to their customers.
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