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All Stars capture national title
April 12, 2013, 05:00 AM By Julio Lara Daily Journal

SANDRA MADRIGAL The Redwood Undisputed captured the NJB National championship, going 4-0.

While the Peninsula was locked in on the NCAA's Final Four last week, a team of young, local girls competed in their very own version.

And the ride was just as thrilling.

Last weekend, an all-star basketball team of fourth grade girls representing the Redwood chapter of the Silicon Valley Section for National Junior Basketball, competed in and won the 2013 NJB National Tournament held in Garden Grove.

They did so by running the table and going undefeated and allowing no more than 21 points in a single game while averaging over 30 points a contest on offense.

"I think they really gelled at the right time," said Redwood Undisputed head coach Phillip Trinidad. "It was just amazing to see the level of heart and intensity they showed at such a young age."

The Undisputed clinched a berth in the national tournament after qualifying during the sectional tournament held at the end of March.

During the national tournament, Redwood Undisputed first competed in pool play. On Saturday, after winning their first game 26-11 over the Encinitas Storm and their second 30-21 over Chino Valley Knock Out, Redwood Undisputed advanced to the Sunday's Final Four.

"They have all have great individual talent," Trinidad said. "But when they played together as team, it wasn't just about going out there and playing the game of basketball, it was like they were other there for each other. They really covered for each other. It was an environment where they weren't afraid to reach for the top and were willing to stand on each other's shoulders to get there."

Redwood faced the Gilroy All-Stars in the semifinal game -- having only beaten the Gilroy team by one point in the sectional tournament, Undisputed was prepared for a dog fight.

"In the beginning of the game, you could tell Gilroy came out not only expecting to compete, but to win," Trinidad said. "And we just shut them down right out of the gate. By the end of the game, they were tipping their hats to us."

The Undisputed girls, having only played for three weeks under Trinidad, showed great improvement over their sectional tournament play, defeating Gilroy 38-21.

On Sunday afternoon, with the championship on the line, Redwood Undisputed faced the only other undefeated squad, Newport Mesa.

Both teams came out strong but Undisputed jumped out to an early lead and never looked back they went on to capture the National Championship title in a 29-15 victory.

Trinidad said the team got contributions from every player: Georgia Paye, Tejal Gupta, Natalia Hotovec, Alexis Jackson, Porsche Trinidad, Nikki Yeh, Caitlin Dulsky, Jacqueline Kurland, Sonia Goyle and Danielle McNair.

YOUTH GYMNASTICS

The ascent up the gymnastics ranks for Accel in Burlingame continues to be rapid one.

And leading that charge is the newly crowned, Level 7 uneven bars state champion, Rachel Burdick.

At the state championships last weekend, Burdick put together her most complete performance of the season, taking third in the all-around while shining with a bar routine that earned her a 9.5 and a gold medal finish.

"I think she did so well because she was consistent on all four pieces throughout the day," said her long-time coach Kelly Alliger-Keane. "We thought going in that she could hit her very best routines and since we were at the state championships and everyone brings their 'A' game, she knew she had to do her best."

Burdick's 9.35 on floor wasn't perfect, according to Alliger-Keane, but that didn't derail the gymnast. She bounced back nicely, taking fourth on the vault with a 9.3 before heading over to the uneven bars.

"It was the first time she hit all her hand stands," Alliger-Keane said. "She has three of them [in her routine] and she hit them all almost perfect. I don't think she knew did as good as good as she did, but you could tell she was happy after the dismount because she had done her best."

Her best turned out to be better than anyone else's -- the 9.5 was good for first place.

The afternoon was capped off with a 9.325 on beam.

With her combined scores, Burdick took third place in the all-around (37.475).

"We knew she had it in her," Alliger-Keane said. "And she wanted to end the season with a bang."

Burdick is a third grade student at McKinley Elementary School in Burlingame.

She was chosen to National Testing TOPS Program at the USA Training Center in Houston this past September and will bypass the national championships in Henderson, Nev. in three weeks to focus on TOPS, according to Alliger-Keane.

Burdick was the highlight of a crazy year for Accel. At the same time last year, the same Level 7 gymnasts were at a Level 4.

"The rise was been really drastic," Alliger-Keane said, "because we have a group of kids that decided to make gymnastics a priority."


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