PLAINFIELD – Twenty-four gymnasts at Flip-N-Out Gymnastics in Plainfield have qualified to go to nationals this June in Kingston, TN. Each girl had to place in the top 12 all around at the state championship in their age division to qualify for nationals.
Wendy Guilliams, instructor at Flip-N-Out, said that there will be a lot more extra practices in June to start training for nationals, which will be June 21 – 25. Currently, they meet one to four days a week at the gym to practice for area competitions.
“We don’t make it where this has to be their life,” she said. “The more they’re here, the better they do, but I let them choose how much they want to be here.”
This is the largest group she has had qualify for nationals. Last year, 20 girls qualified and 12 were able to go.
Ava Israel was one of the 24 gymnasts to qualify for nationals. She received second overall in her age division.
“I love being on a team because whenever I’m at the gym, whenever I’m on a team, it always makes it fun,” she said. “If you don’t want to do it, the team will make you want to do it. I’m mostly excited about getting to see all the people (at nationals). I’m also excited about getting to go to Tennessee.”
Thousands of gymnasts from all over the country attend nationals in every level. They each compete in four events.
“I like to do the uneven bars in gymnastics,” said Israel. “When you’re up on the uneven bars, it’s like you’re flying.”
This is the first time Alexa Alsept has qualified for nationals.
“I’m excited to say that I made it and for the experience,” she said.
Lexi Leasure is a senior and was the national champion in bars last year.
“First never felt so good,” she said. “It was a dream of mine and it was the best feeling in the world.”
Not only are the girls excited to go to nationals, but parents expressed their pride for their kids.
“For me, it’s her commitment and desire to do well,” said Dave Israel, Ava’s father. “She’s doing it for herself and the value it’s teaching her, I’m impressed. We didn’t anticipate her desire for excellence. I love how gymnastics is giving her physical ability to understand her body and her strengths and weaknesses. I’m so proud of her.”
Girls who qualified for nationals are listed by level: Level 2: Alexa Rodreguiz of Coshocton, Anyssa Cutlip of West Lafayette, Ava Israel of West Lafayette, and KehLeigh Hatcher of Zanesville; Level 3: Autumn Joyce of Plainfield, Dany Erbach of New Concord, Faith Udischas of Coshocton, Haylie Gates of Coshocton, Kenzie Bice of West Lafayette, Lexa Guilliams of Warsaw, Mya Bryant of Newcomerstown, Riley Murrey of Warsaw, Addie-kate Fernatt of New Philadelphia, Cambrie Stamets of Dover, and Sunny Maple of West Lafayette; Level 4: Berkeley Turner of Coshocton and Sofie Paugh of Coshocton; Level 6: Alexa Alsept of New Philadelphia, Elena Cadle of Newcomerstown, Shea Wagner of Conesville, Gracie Jackson of Old Washington, and Kate McConnell of New Philadelphia; Level 8: Grace Gottwalt of West Lafayette; Excel Gold: Alexia Leasure of Plainfield.