Hubbard’s Gagliardi signs with Buckeyes

When Claire Gagliardi was in eighth grade, she knew gymnastics was something she could do in college.

“I knew around the time I was 13 or 14 that I could really do this and take it seriously,” said Gagliardi, a Hubbard High School student. “I’ve made nationals the last four years and most colleges are at those national tournaments.”

Beside Ohio State, Gagliardi was recruited by West Virginia, Kentucky and Georgia as well. Her decision was ultimately made pretty easy.

“When I visited at Ohio State, it just felt like home when I got on the campus and walked around,” she said. “Everything about it was perfect to me, and that’s why I chose Ohio State over the other schools.”

Gagliardi said throughout the entire process, her family has been the most important thing.

“I’m very proud of what I have been able to accomplish so far,” Gagliardi said. “I don’t know how to even explain what this whole ride has been like honestly. Both my coaches throughout the last 10 years, Carol King and Dawn Touissant, are like my second parents. I’ve seen them more than my own parents.”

Before she ever got to this point, she was a little girl with a big dream like most gymnats, but Touissant said she’s not like most people.

“She’s a perfectionist,” Touissant said. “She pushes herself in everything she does. Whether it is in the classroom or the studio, she wants to be the best. She never thinks she is good enough, which makes her work twice as hard as a lot of others.”

Touissant has been working with Gagliardi since she was about 6 years old and knew it even then that she had this potential.

“I knew she had the potential because of her work ethic,” Touissant said. “Our studio isn’t just a job to me. It’s family-oriented and that’s the most important part for me. We have all supported her and everything she has done.”

For Gagliardi now, everything is about continuing to get better, and she certainly has from her youth.

“When I was younger, I didn’t take things too serious,” Gagliardi said. “After I made my first Junior Olympics Nationals, that is when things fell into place in my head. That was the moment that I knew college gymnastics is the thing for me.”

Touissant believes Gagliardi will have no problem adjusting to the next level.

“I could see when she was young that she could go really far in this sport. The kids that are the workers get where they want to go,” she said. “The greatest honor for me is that when these kids have kids that I did a good enough job that they want to bring their children to be taught by me.”