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Steel city steal: Sophomore from Pittsburgh turns heads as she climbs in national rankings 


As SUNY Brockport gymnast Natalie Galioto prepares to step onto the 4-inch-wide balance beam she takes a deep breath and says a simple prayer. 

“God, please just help me stay on the beam.”   

She looks up into the crowd to find her mom and they both tug on their right ear like they do every time before she competes. Next, she starts to take the pressure off by getting into the right mindset. She reminds herself that worst-case scenario, she falls, but only to get right back into the gym on Monday to prepare for the next meet.   

Galioto, though, is not merely staying on the beam but is excelling in her first season as a Golden Eagle. She is currently ranked first in the nation on beam and has been ranked in the top three spots for the past three weeks.   

She tied the school record on beam two weeks in a row (9.800) and is a weekly contributor to the team’s No. 1 national ranking and perfect 12-0 record.  

The sophomore from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania started doing gymnastics at 2 years old and never looked back. Despite all the times she’s fallen off the beam, she’s fallen even more in love with the feeling of hitting her routine and the satisfaction of hard work paying off.  

Before Brockport, her favorite memory in the sport was winning the advanced all-around Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics League Championship title for Thomas Jefferson high school in 2019. That same year she finished second at the state tournament and helped her high school take home the championship.   

In 2018, Galioto helped her high school to their first gymnastics state championship in the school’s history finishing first on bars (9.525) and beam (9.7), fifth in floor (9.433) and third all-around (37.658).    

The decision to compete collegiately wasn’t clear to Galioto until she broke her foot at the beginning of senior year. By the time she came back at the end of the season, she wasn’t healthy enough to finish her career to her fullest potential and knew she had unfinished business.  

Galioto was drawn to Brockport because of the nursing program and tradition of excellence in gymnastics. After applying to only two colleges she eventually picked Brockport.   

“I didn’t want to go super far from home and Brockport was the perfect distance from my house, about four and a half hours, so it wasn’t too close. I can still make the trip home on a weekend if I want to and the good nursing program really stuck out to me,” Galioto said.   

The decision paid off. Galioto says the team culture at Brockport is one of the best she’s ever experienced, and if you’ve ever attended a meet, you know exactly what she’s talking about as Brockport is notorious for being the loudest team in the gym.   

“It’s the best. In the gym we’re all best friends, always cheering for each other, and no matter what the circumstances outside of the gym, when you’re in the gym everyone cheers for each other and has each other’s backs,” Galioto said.   

Her teammate Emma Sargent, a sophomore from Greenwood, South Carolina, says Galioto is a major contributor to the team’s great chemistry.   

“Natalie is very working but is always willing to go out of her way to help others,” Sargent said.   

Galioto’s objective this year was to break into the lineup, and now that she’s accomplished that, she is looking forward to the opportunity to compete in the post-season and contribute to the team’s goal of defending their 2019 National Championship title.   

“Since it was my first year competing in college, I really just wanted to have a spot in the lineup,” Galioto said. “That was really my goal so even just to be able to compete at regionals and nationals and to just have a spot in the lineup to help the team win would be really cool.”   

The Golden Eagles will take on the Cortland Red Dragons and Rhode Island College Sunday, March 6 at 1 p.m. With the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) Regionals tournament coming up on Saturday, March 12 and the 2022 NCGA National Championship around the corner on Saturday, March 26, the team is gearing up to avenge their 2019 national championship. Galioto will be a key contributor to the team’s success this post-season.   

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