CASPER, Wyoming — It’s not often that nine girls from small town Wyoming have the opportunity to go to a regional competition to compete against other elite gymnasts.
The Casper Gymnastics Center is delighted to invite nine young athletes to compete at the regional championships this season. This will only be their third year at regionals; last year they only took one contestant.
Owner and Coach Ashlee Lowndes is proud to present her team of students who have qualified for these events. She has owned the center since it opened in 2013 and had been a coach for 14 years prior. “I opened [Casper Gymnastics Center] because I had a passion for gymnastics and helping kids,” says Lowndes.
They have a total of 15 coaches supervising 250 students. Lowndes says 39 of them are on their gymnastics team, and only nine of them have qualified for regionals.
Those on the outside may not know the amount of work it takes to become a good gymnast, nor the time spent by each of the girls. There are many skills that can take years to master, and these girls are invested in it.
There are two different levels competing at different regionals. Both are optional levels in which the girls had to qualify individually.
All the girls are of different ages, the youngest being 11 years old. Some of the gymnasts have only been competing for four to five seasons, while others have been working on their tricks for eight years.
The two girls going to Plano, Texas this week – Jaidyn Jones and Mycah Keil – are both level 6. When asked what excites them most, they said it’s not just the opportunity to compete against people from other states, but also the chance to travel to Texas.
Jones said, “The thing I had to work the hardest on was my backhand springs on the beam.” Keil also had many obstacles to overcome. She started the season with one of the lowest scores on vault (vault being when a gymnast jumps over an apparatus) and now holds one of the highest scores at her level. She says that’s what she worked the hardest on.
According to Lowndes, the girls had to master many skills, including figures on the ground, in the air and on the bars.
The other team members are at the Xcel Gold level. Those seven qualifiers are Gracie Matney, Jenna Coffey, Emilia Summerton, Jerzie Thomas, Haley Moler, Bailey Shaw and Suzanna Avent. Their regional competition will take place in a few weeks in Aurora, Colorado.
Many of the girls expressed that they were very excited about competing in a new setting, gaining confidence and “being able to show off”. Each of the girls had to “build a huge library of skills” to get to this point, and they are thrilled to have something to show for this season.
“Regionals are a big deal and it’s a big achievement to qualify there,” Lowndes said. Casper Gymnastics Center is proud to have these girls competing and will be cheering them on for regionals. For more information on Casper Gymnastics Center, visit their website at https://www.caspergymnastics.com/.