He’s the leader of a small but dedicated group of Sonoma Valley High School students who pull out yo-yos during lunchtime and breaks to perfect their tricks and maneuvers.
They have yoyos sleeping (spinning rapidly at the end of the string) and whirling with such nonchalance that yo-yoing appears almost easy.
Don’t expect them to yank on the string of a clunky old-fashioned Duncan yoyo, though. Cross and his pals prefer contemporary models – like the Arctic Circle or Eight8Eight – that command prices exceeding $100.
“Including the ones I’ve lost, I have 15 in total,” says Cross, a sophomore who picked up his first yoyo as a fifth-grader “just as another toy.”
Last weekend Semenza took first place in his age group at the California State YoYo Competition in Sacramento for what he calls “the ladder” – the escalation of up to 25 tricks that are called out on-the-spot by a judge that determines whether or not they qualify to move up to the next on the list.
He’ll compete in the Regional Competition in San Francisco in May before taking his skills to Chico later this year for Nationals, squaring off against some of the best in the world in the city that houses the National YoYo Museum.
“It gets really crowded when you’re there,” Semenza said. “They blast music and a lot of the people do their tricks to music. There are professionals from around the world that are there. I go to each one – they’re a lot of fun.”