Chester’s Maci Prescott places 1st in vault at nationals

Maci Prescott, right, stands with Coach . Photos provided by Phillisa Prescott.

Maci Prescott, right, stands with Coach Brian Post . Photos provided by Phillisa Prescott.

By Greg Hart

Maci Prescott of Chester, age 15, won the vault event at the 2014 U.S. Gymnastics Level Nine Eastern Nationals held in Bradenton, Fla., in early May. She is the first Vermonter in more than 18 years to even make it into the event, and now she has reached the top tier of competition in this level. Representing Le Studio Dance and Gymnastics in Bellows Falls as well as Vermont, Maci competed in all four apparatus – parallel uneven bars, balance beam, floor and vault.

Maci was feeling calm as the date approached and even on the flight to Florida. “I was mostly just excited, I hadn’t been to Florida since third grade and I enjoy traveling a lot,” says Maci. “I didn’t really think about the competition until that day.” Maci’s calm carried into the opening of the championships when the athletes march in and are introduced individually. “It was really fun to cheer for the rest of our Region 6 team and have them cheer for me.”

The first event was the bars and Maci says her nerves finally started to bubble to the surface. She describes the mood as rushed and hectic immediately before. “I was second (to perform) and I barely had time to focus before I had to compete.” Unfortunately her bar routine was not up to Maci’s standards: “I was disappointed because I knew I could have done better.”

Disappointment aside, Maci felt a little less nervous with the competition under way. Next up was the balance beam. Maci had a rough warmup and her stress level rose, “I was falling on everything (in warm ups). For beam, I need to be focused and I wasn’t able to calm my nerves.” Another disappointing and frustrating performance followed, with Maci falling twice.

Maci Prescott, 2nd from left, stands on the winners podium with other gymnasts.

Maci Prescott, 2nd from left, stands on the winners podium with other gymnasts.

Floor was next: “I knew I had to just have fun in order to finish the meet strong.” This calm and mature approach led to a more satisfying routine. “After that, I felt more confident because I had done one of my better routines.”

As Maci headed into her favorite and strongest event, the mental and physical strain started to hit home. “I was ready for a nap, as I usually am by the last event. I ate a granola bar and listened to some ‘pump up’ music in an effort to conjure up some energy.” Apparently it worked as she rose above the nerves, stress and fatigue to achieve her personal best and land in 1st Place for the vault. “I was really excited and relieved to have been able to do my best on at least two of the four events.”

In addition to placing first in the vault, Prescott placed 23rd on the floor and 24th on bars and beam.

So what’s next for Vermont’s rising gymnastic star? Summer training, then meet season again. “I plan on continuing in Level Nine and obtaining bigger skills. Personally, I have proved to myself that I am capable of accomplishing this. Now I will try to see what else I can do.” For now that means pushing herself to improve her beam, floor and bar routines. But that also doesn’t mean that Maci will be resting on the laurels of her 1st Place in the vault. “Since Easterns, I have learned another vault. I wish to continue adding difficulty to them and eventually compete in them in college.”

Yet Maci has ambitions not only for herself but for her teammates at Le Studio as well as Vermont gymnastics in general. “For Vermont gymnastics, it begins to put us on the map. There are many talented young gymnasts in Vermont, particularly my younger teammates, who I know will be able to make it farther than me if they stick with it. I hope they continue to show the East Coast how amazing Vermont and Le Studio can be.”

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About the Author: Chester native Greg Hart is a 1985 graduate of Green Mountain Union High School. He earned his bachelor of Science at the University of Vermont and returned to the Chester area in 1994 to start a business and a family. He lives in Chester, owns Blue Sky Trading Co. in Ludlow and is the proud father of three. He can be reached at

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