Fresh from a strong showing in Spokane, Washington, the Gym Kats are back on the road this week.
Three members of the team will be competing in Louisville, Kentucky, at the USA Gymnastics Level 8-10 Tumbling and Trampoline National Championships.
Emma Grace, 10, 12-year-old Madison Pearson and 13-year-old Rachel Torres will all be making their Level 8 debut in the competition, which runs July 15-19.
“These athletes are seasoned,” said Gym Kats coach Kassie Hoosier. “They have been in the gym and competing for a while now. They know how it works.
“This will allow them to keep their nerves to a minimum, remain focused, and keep their eyes on the prize.”
Recently, several members of the club competed in the Level 5-7 National Championships in Spokane. They were led by Daylon Webb, 8, who captured a silver medal in double-mini and a bronze in tumbling in Level 5.
In that same competition, Cayden Daniels took fourth in double-mini and seventh in trampoline.
Pearson is making her third trip to nationals in four years, having skipped 2013. In 2011 in San Antonio she was seventh in floor exercises and eighth in double-mini, and she was ninth in floor in 2012 in Long Beach.
Grace and Torres are making their third consecutive trip to nationals. Grace posted a pair of top-20 finishes in Long Beach and last year in Kansas City while Torres did the same.
Grace and Torres will compete in all three events in Louisville, while Pearson will skip tumbling because of a foot injury, Hoosier said.
Hoosier said she expects around 1,000 competitors in Louisville, just as there were in Spokane.
This is the first time the USAG has divided nationals. Hoosier likes the decision – sort of.
“Yes and no,” she said. “Yes, because it highlights them for their own individual levels. It allowed the lower levels to shine and not be hidden by the upper levels.
“No, because of the out-of-pocket expense.”
Athletes and coaches have to fund their own travel to nationals.
“They are looking to make the upper levels more of a prestigious event in the hopes of scoring a television deal,” said Hoosier.
“They also split it to be easier on the judges.”
Hoosier said the trip, which will last through Sunday, July 20, will include more than competition.
“We would love to go to Churchill Downs (site of the Kentucky Derby), as well as having a little extra time,” she said.
“With the smaller number of kids, we will set aside time for sightseeing.”
Double-mini competition involves an athlete making a short run and leaping onto a small two-level trampoline. They will then perform an aerial maneuver and dismount.
Trampoline involves being propelled to 30 feet in the air. During this they can perform single, double and twisted somersaults on the way to dismount.
Tumbling utilizes elevated spring runways that enable athletes to jump at heights over 10 feet and execute a variety of acrobatic maneuvers.
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