Announcing the 2021 Stars & Stripes Coed Competitive Schedule. Below is a link to a printable pdf file for your convenience.
This year Erie Gymnastics Center & Team Lightning Boosters welcome over 1,300 gymnasts from nearly 28 competitive Teams.
Dear Coaches, Gymnasts, Judges, Parents,
Welcome to the Stars & Stripes Coed Gymnastics Invitational 2021. On behalf of myself & the EGCPA (Team Lightning Booster Club), we welcome you!
As you are all aware, we are all in the middle of a terrible Pandemic. We are all struggling to find a safe balance between trying to remain safe & quell this Pandemic and trying to return to some sense of normalcy for ourselves, but more so for our children - these talented athletes.
With that said, we are trying our best to accomplish both an extremely safe environment and a fun meet for all. We are one of the first large 'events' to take place in our city since the start of the Pandemic in March. We have a tremendous amount of pressure on us to come out the other side of this event as a model for 'how to' host a safe & fun event as we struggle to return to 'normal'. We feel we're up to this challenge, but we're counting on YOU - to help make this a success! Not for us, but for all of us, as a Nation, a Community, our Gyms, our Families, but mostly for our talented gymnasts.
I will say that this is the most challenging Event I've ever taken part in over my career. We have worked tirelessly with the Erie Health Department, the Bayfront Convention Center, the Erie Sports Commission and others to make this happen. We've prepared safety plans and made all sorts of considerations that in past events, we would never even thought to consider. Still, even with the best preparation, we are still in the middle of this raging Pandemic. It's NOT 100% safe and there are still many risks. As a result, we want you to read through the entirety of this page and familiarize yourself with all of the safety protocols, rules, policies, and regulations. We ask that you cooperate with ALL the best you can. We ask that if you are feeling ill, your child, a family member, that you forfeit this opportunity this year. If you have had contact with anyone known to recently test positive or suspected of, that again you stay home for the 'greater good' of all. The overall success of this Event will lead to more Events in the future and more opportunities for all. Failure will only lead to more lost opportunities, more closures, more missed opportunities for the ones you love. So please, read on and follow all of our recommendations & guidelines.
Thank You & Welcome,
Douglas & Tina Pershun
Masks are Mandatory for ALL persons entering the Bayfront Convention Center and required for the duration of your stay within the facility.
* If you are in the small group of 'exemptions' from mask rules, please be prepared to show your Medical exemption.
* Gymnasts are to wear masks when entering & exiting the facility. As well, gymnasts are to wear their masks while idle and not actively competing or during timed warm-ups. Gymnasts are expected to put their masks back on following their routines and during Awards Ceremonies.
ALL: All Coaches, Judges, Volunteers, Gymnasts, Spectators, Employees will be subject to a Temperature Check upon entering the Facility.
* The accepted Medical Definition of Fever is a Temperature above 100.4 degrees F / 38 degrees C. Any temperature higher will be given a retest over a 2 minute time. If you still record a 'fever', you will NOT be admitted. You will be issued a full refund for your ticket.
All persons entering will be given a squirt of hand sanitizer. As well throughout the facility there will be additional hand sanitizers for your convienience.
* Gymnasts will use Hand Sanitizer when rotating events
For safety, ALL Gymnasts should arrive to the Competition 'ready to compete' . This means that they should have their Uniform on, Hair done, equipment (grips/ chalk) with / on them and ready to compete. What we are trying to accomplish is to limit the restrooms and common areas from additional congestion. Often in past years, the gymnasts might hang out in the restrooms doing their hair, changing.... This is not wise nor recommended this year. Thanks for your cooperation.
Due to the occupancy Limits on Facility, we are asking Teams to only send on the the Floor the limited number of Coaches necessary to safely coach the gymnasts. Quite frequently Coaches here for the weekend who maybe only act as an 'Asst. Coach' for a Level or Team will come onto the Floor with the current group to 'help out' a bit. While normally this is welcome and accepted, we want to limit the numbers in the gyms. Thus, if you have 3 kids in a Flight, you should not need 6 coaches!
* As well, often Gymnasts from previous sessions like to hand out and support their teammates in the preceding or concurring session. In order to control numbers and allow Parents a chance to see their child compete, we ask that you leave once your session is over and arrive only immediately before your session begins. Absolutely no non-competitors permitted in a Flight unless they are a ticket holder.
The various Flights have been scheduled with time inbetween to disinfect and clean the common areas. We have as does the Convention Center (Ghost Buster) type sprayers for the equipment, mats, chairs.... In addition, we have a UV light (vacuum) designed to go over the carpeted areas. We will be sanitizing between & sometimes throughout the various Flights.
Immediately after entering and Temperature Checks, the Gymnasts / Coaches should report to the Registration Table (socially distanced of course). Upon there they will receive their Competition number and/or Forms. They will be instructed as to which gym to report and when they can safely enter. ALL COACHES MUST BE REGISTERED THROUGH USAG SITE and listed on the SANCTION.
Normally the Convention Center runs a 'Box Office' for Ticket Sales to the Event. This year due to constraints with staffing, lines, and assorted other considerations, we will not have an 'inside' Ticket Booth.
*** We have received approval to handle Ticket Admissions INSIDE the Facility at the Gymnast Registration Table.
ADULT ADMISSIONS: $15.00 CASH ONLY!!!
The ticket sellers will have a Session / Flight Roster with your Gymnasts Name for the upcoming Sessions. They will issue you 2 (TWO) MAXIMUM Tickets per Gymnast.
Unfortunately, we do NOT have a Child Admission price in that we are expecting the majority of attendees to be parents.
Unfortunately, we will NOT have a Multi-Day Pass as in former years. We understand this is unfortunate, but logistically we can not decipher, nor have the additional staffing to trifle over an extremely small percentage. As well, it will be far more complicated for us to calculate exactly how many persons are in the facility at any given time.
Unfortunately, and I checked! Someone already asked and I got official clarification. The question was asked... "What about a toddler / infant - under 3?" I argued that on an Airline, you are not charged an additional ticket price for an infant who will sit on your lap. The 'definition' came back that the 'infant is a person', and therefore counted as a person in the facility.
I understand your frustration! In order to try to allow 2 spectators / gymnast and accommodate the most common family requests, we are at a strict limit of "2" MAX, and an infant, toddler, grandma... counts. Trust me, we'd love this to be over and pack as many spectators in as we could fit. We normally invite all of our Recreational Students, our Rec. Parents, our athletes Teachers, Grandma's, Grandpaps.... More tickets is more financial success. We are NOT significantly profiting on this event this year!
2 means 2 - NO EXCEPTIONS!
In previous years, many parents making the 'trek' to Erie in the winter, they left with plenty of time to spare. Often they would arrive early for the Event, and visit our Vendors or perhaps catch the tail end of the preceding Flight.
This year, in addition to the Limits in the Gyms, there is a limit to the total number of people permitted in the Convention Center at one time. That number is slightly north of 600 total persons. So, when both gyms are in session and competing AND the entirety of the next 2 groups (300+) come in early, we're over that Limit.
Thus, while we want you here 'on time' for your child's competition, we do NOT want you to enter the facility early! We are asking all Coaches or Team Managers to have a team "Group Chat" where the Coaches can inform the next groups when we are ready to accept them into the building.
We have tried to 'space' each Flight out to allow for disinfecting the equipment & facility. However, it is possible that an equipment failure or injury could delay a Session and therefore the start time of the next session could be delayed.
Please arrange this 'Group Chat' with your coaches so we can remain within our safety limits and facility occupancy.
We are hoping to admit Gymnasts & Spectators approximately 15 -20 minutes prior to our 'posted' Stretch times.
Thanks for your cooperation!
Stars & Stripes was founder in the aftermath of 9/11. It was 20 years ago when this terrible attack happened in our country. We watched the Heroes emerge from that rubble. Fire Fighters & Rescues Workers, Police, & EMTS were running up those buildings as they were coming down. We didn't forget. Shortly thereafter, our brave Military took the fight to the Terrorists who did this and continue that to this day.
Interestingly enough, 20 years later we find ourselves in a new crisis with this Pandemic. Without missing a beat, a day off, our brave Police, Fire Fighters, and mostly EMT's & Paramedics continued to be the Heroes of the Covid 19 Pandemic. They went into homes, often ill equipped with proper PPD, at great risk to their own safety to respond to 911 calls. Often times those calls were from ill persons with Covid 19 who needed immediate aid & transportation to the Hospitals. Again, it is these brave people who participate in these fields who risk their lives to protect ours.
With that said, if you are a current Police, Fire, Rescue, or Military worker, you are our guest and admitted FREE OF CHARGE!
Please bring your proper ID (Badge/ Identification...) and you will be issued a special admission Ticket.
* NOTE: This still counts in the limited 2 spectators / gymnast rule. Meaning you can not have lets say Mom is an EMT, and then bring Dad & Grandma. (That's 3 and 1 too many). Sorry.
This was the most challenging Schedule we've ever had to design EVER! I feel an explanation is due to you so you understand 'why' the schedule is the way it is. As inconvenient and complex as it first may appear, we consider it a 'Masterpiece' with all things considered!
As you may be aware, the Governor of PA has issued strict occupancy limitations in public facilities. For Event Facilities over 25,000 sq. ft., the occupancy percentage is 5%. For Event Facilities under 25,000 sq. ft., the occupancy percentage is 10%.
The room pictured to your left is where for years we've hosted Stars & Stripes with 2 full Competitions running simultaneously with often 180 gymnasts and thousands of spectators.
This Event room is 28,800 sq. ft., just 3,000 sq. ft. over the 25,000 sq. ft. limit. Thus, if we used this configuration we would be limited to just 160 TOTAL persons in the room (5%). That would be 1 session running at a time with about 40 gymnasts, 2 spectators, and meet personnel. The event would be 8 days!
However, the Convention Center has a room divider wall that configures the same space to a 1/3 (10,800 sq. ft. & 2/3 (18,000 sq. ft. configuration for smaller or medium sized events. In dividing the room, we now fall under the 'less than 25,000 sq. ft. rule and are allowed 10% capacity.
Thus, now we can have 200 persons total in the larger area and 120 maximum persons in the smaller section. I know this doesn't make sense. I too think, why can I only have 160 people in this large room, but if I make it smaller I can have 200 people in there - consider safe. It is what it is, and I do not make the rules.
So, we now can have 2 competitions simultaneously, 1 slightly larger & 1 slightly smaller meet.
We have to, for 'Social Distancing' LIMIT the attendance to the meet. However, it was very important to me & our Boosters that allowed 2 spectators (typically a Mother & Father) to the Event. Many meet this year have limited spectators to 1 per gymnast. I know if placed in the same situation with my children, it would be a very difficult decision and disappointment to one of us.
Thus, with Spectator Limits, we must limit the number of athletes in each gym. These numbers broke down into groups of 56 (in the larger room) and 30 gymnasts (in the smaller room). We therefor had to break down 1,300+ gymnasts by Level, Age, Division... into little groups of 30 & 56 athletes. This was an arduous task and eventually broke down to 35 separate competitions.
Another consideration was the actual 'competition'. As a coach & as gymnasts, we want to test ourselves versus other Teams & Athletes. That is competition. However as an example: My wife has 20 Level 4 athletes on her team. If I put them all together in 1 room, there is only room for 10 other athletes from a smaller team. That would be assuming that their athletes spanned the various age groups.... That would be neither fun - nor fair.
Thus, differing from former Stars & Stripes competitions, with the larger levels we broke athletes into "Age Groups" so as to provide more 'Competition'. This is similar to most 'State Championship Competitions'. Again, it just added to the complexity of the schedule.
Lastly, we moved Stars & Stripes from the 4 days Martin Luther King Holiday Weekend to a 'non-holiday' weekend in the hope that we would be at a safer point in the pandemic and perhaps the occupancy limits were raised a bit higher. On the 4 day Holiday Weekend, it was a challenge to fit all those gymnasts in. in a non-holiday weekend, it was impossible. We just want you to know that we know and understand that 'parents work', athletes have school.... Unfortunately, it is what it is this year, and we're just playing the cards we've been dealt. We're all hurting and we're all making concessions on behalf of our children.
Thanks for your consideration!
For some Sessions, Awards will be on the Competitive Floor immediately after their Flight. In some cases we will have All participants & Spectators move to the Ballroom for Awards
AGE GROUPS: VERY IMPORTANT: For Stars & Stripes, as is PA Rules, we almost always use the last day of that Levels culminating Meet of the Season for our Age Determination. Thus, we use Level 10 Nationals for 10's // Level 9 Eastern's for Level 9 // Level 8 Regionals for 8's // Levels 3-7 and Xcel are governed by our State Pennsylvania. I mention this - especially this year -- because Teams that come from other States may have different State dates than we have in PA. The 2nd reason is that PA decided to cancel Level 8-10 States this season. Level 3 - 7 & Xcel States were all moved into May. So maybe you thought they were 11 years old for States before, but now they're still 10 years old.
Here are the dates for Age Determination for Stars...
MEN: Age you will be as of... 5/31/21
Level 10 - Age you will be as of.. 4/25/21 (L10 Regionals)
Level 9 -- Age you will be as of... 4/18/21 (L9 Regionals)
Level 8 -- Age you will be as of... 6/13/21 (L8 Region VII)
Level 7 -- Age you will be as of... 5/16/21 (PA Lev 7 States)
Level 6 -- Age you will be as of... 5/9/21 (PA Lev. 6 States)
Level 5 -- Age you will be as of... 5/23/21 (PA Lev. 5 States)
Level 4 -- Age you will be as of... 5/9/21 (PA Lev. 4 States)
Level 3 -- Age you will be as of... 5/16/21 (PA Lev. 3 States)
Level 2 -- Age you will be as of... 2/28/21 (Stars & Stripes
Xcel Bronze -- Age you will be as of.. 2/28/21 (Stars & Stripes)
Xcel Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond - Age you will be as of.. 5/2/21
Action Shots Photography has been the Official Photographers for the Stars & Stripes for years. They will be taking 'action shots' of the Gymnasts during their routines. They will not only have pictures available at the meet, but will also provide their product online (limited time following the event) for safer ordering. They offer a wide variety of products and capture some truly awesome shots!
FREE: Every Gymnast receives a FREE Commemorative Stars & Stripes Event T-Shirt. Gymnasts can claim their T-Shirt in the Awards area. Gymnasts can also 'up-grade' their T-Shirts to Sweat shirts / Hoodies or add additional images! They have some really cool stuff!!!
GK Elite Sportswear will be here with some really awesome new styles & designs. Check them out in the Awards Area!
Feb. 28th, 2021
Men's & Women's Teams - side by side!
Tickets available at the door.
Child: $ (3-17)
Military, Police, Fire, & Rescue
FREE (please bring ID)
SORRY, NO ADMISSION THIS YEAR TO THIS PRESTIGIOUS EVENT!
Belle Vernon, PA
Moon Township, PA
New Castle, PA
Cranberry Township, PA