Waxhaw’s All American Gymnast: Julianna Cannamela’s Greatest Moments

Julianna Cannamela is a two-time All American on vault. Photo Credit: Chris Parent

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This is Part Two of a two-part series. Part One is available at triwnews.com

Waxhaw native Julianna Cannamela ended her undergrad career at Louisiana State University (LSU) as a two-time All American on vault. Despite her busy summer schedule, Cannamela took the time to interview with the Tri-W and share about her journey. This is part two in a two-part series. 

What was required to earn the title of All American Gymnast?

I was never really sure how to make “All American”. There are a few ways. You can be a regular-season All American, which is when your average score [Regional Qualifying Score] for each event, or all-around, is top eight in the country. 

Then when you go to nationals, you have first-team All American or second-team All American. First-team is the top four highest scores on an event or in the all-around. Second-team is the four second-highest scores in the meet.

I am a two-time All American on vault. I could not have done any of it without the support of my teammates, coaches, friends, and family.

“Not just teammates, but sisters.” Photo Credit: Chris Parent

What are some of your greatest moments in gymnastics?

I have two great moments in college that I will never forget. The first one would be my freshman year at nationals. My team made it to Super Six, which is the final day of nationals, where we compete for the championship. 

We were behind by a lot after our first event, and then we went to beam. I fell my first time on beam, but my coach didn’t take me out of the lineup. The final day, I went up there and nailed it. Then we went on to the floor competition, and we did even better. 

At that point, I think we were still in third, but we weren’t looking at scores, so I’m not positive. Finally, we were on vault. I was first up on vault and stuck it cold. I got a 9.9 and came sprinting back towards my team. My coach gave me the biggest hug. 

Then the rest of my teammates went up, one after another, sticking all of their vaults. We ended up second at the nationals championship and made LSU history. 

My second best memory was my junior year against Alabama. It was a home meet, and I had shoulder surgery that summer. I was still working on coming back from that. One of my best friends, Kennedi Edney, got hurt and I was the alternate for floor. Last-minute, my coach came up to me and told me I was in the sixth spot on floor. 

I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I only competed floor once in college and guess what? I landed on my face that time. I couldn’t watch any of the routines that went up before me because I was so nervous. 

Finally, it was time for me to go, and I saluted to the judge. I swear I blacked out and came back to life in the middle of my last pass! I landed it, and before I could even salute, my teammates were knocking me down. The fans were going nuts. And it was a sold-out meet and a record-breaking crowd.

I immediately looked at my mom and started crying. And all I was thinking about while hugging my teammates was, “Everything I did tonight was for them.” My biggest motivators. Not just teammates, but sisters. I truly love and thank everyone at LSU. 

Light editing was done for brevity and clarity.

“I could not have done any of it without the support of my teammates, coaches, friends, and family.” Photo Credit: Chris Parent
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Annie Beth Donahue lives in Indian Trail, North Carolina with her husband Brad, and four children. She is a professional writer for both the web and print, and she can be found at www.anniebethdonahue.com.

Annie Beth also has a bachelor's degree in music therapy from Queens University of Charlotte, and has either been working with or parenting children with special needs for the past 18 years. She is a children's book author and the founder and president of Signposts Ministries, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves families that have children with chronic health problems or disabilities. In her non-working time, she homeschools and oversees the children's care of their small menagerie made up of chickens, two donkeys, a dog, a cat, and a snake.