Last year, the Warren County YMCA Powerhouse Gymnastics program sent 10 girls to the YMCA National Gymnastics Championships in Milwaukee, Wisc.
They've doubled that number in 2013.
Twenty local gymnasts will head to this year's championships in Savannah, Ga., June 26 to 29 to compete in the vault, bars, beam, and floor events alongside more than 2,000 competitors from 24 states. Thirteen have been to YMCA nationals before, and seven will be making the trip for the first time.
Photo courtesy of YMCA
YMCA Powerhouse Gymnastics Team 2013 national qualifiers include: first row, Kendra Noe, Sienna Winkle, Lennon Dailey, Nina Clarke, Jayna Baldensperger, Lea Seekins, Taylor Napolitan, Katelyn Kestle, Lauren Andersen; second row, Madison Mohney, Kennedy Ford, Isabel Wortman, Hannah Shattuck, Nura Weese, Allison Koebley, Kyleigh Wilson, Morgan Poole, Elizabeth Koebley, Riley Bickling, Katie Madigan, Madelyn Flannery; third row, Riviera Bennett, Delaney Alcorn, Aniela Gesing, Kaitlyn Borden, Lindsay Onuffer, Mackenzie Schott, Julia Vile, Julia Goldsberry, Seneca Bennett, Emily See, Hanna Taylor, and Lily Fitch. Missing from photo is Abigail Ford, Morgan Leichtenberger, Hailey Peterson, and Payton Frank. Twenty among this group are competing in Savannah, Ga.
"It's a pretty big deal. It isn't something everyone gets invited to," said Powerhouse coach Courtney Froman. "All the girls have been working pretty hard the past few weeks. We expect to go out and perform well, and hopefully bring back a medal. We'd like to see more medals, but one would be good."
To qualify for nationals, gymnasts need to reach a minimum all-around score in at least one YMCA-sponsored meet. The necessary score differs for each level, and typically the upper levels are more highly skilled/experienced. Powerhouse Gymnastics saw 38 members qualify this year, although not all will attend the meet.
According to Froman, the experience is what matters most for the first time participants.
"If it's their first time competing, it's good to just get those years under their belt," she said. "It's important for them to stay calm and just do what they've done all season."
Instead of team standings that many of the regular season meets utilized, nationals is purely an individual competition.
Warren's Lindsay Onuffer is one of the team's veterans when it comes to nationals, having gone twice prior.
"It's definitely not as scary anymore," said Onuffer, one of two Level 7 (typically increases with experience) gymnasts making the trip, along with Mackenzie Schott. "It isn't as big as I thought it was (the first year). I feel like I'm more prepared now."
Joining Onuffer and Schott in Savannah will be: Delaney Alcorn, Kaitlyn Borden, Katie Madigan, Emily See, and Kyleigh Wilson in the IPO category; Riviera Bennett, Seneca Bennett, and Nina Clarke in Level 5; Lily Fitch, Kennedy Ford, Aniela Gesing, Madison Mohney, and Lea Seekins in Level 4; and Katelyn Kestle, Kendra Noe, Morgan Poole, Nura Weese, and Sienna Winkle in Level 3, and; Hanna Taylor will also attend as an IPO, but will not compete due to an injury.
Additional members who qualified for the 2013 YMCA National Gymnastics Championships are: Lennon Dailey, Jayna Baldensperger, Taylor Napolitan, Lauren Anderson, Isabel Wortman, Hannah Shattuck, Allison Koebley, Elizabeth Koebley, Riley Bickling, Madelyn Flannery, Julia Vile, Julia Goldsberry, Emily Peterson, Abigail Ford, Morgan Leichtenberger, Hailey Peterson, and Payton Frank.