What does a gymnast do for spring break?
Go to State Championships! (If she qualified for championships, that is.)
In our little state of Idaho, a USAG Junior Olympic gymnast must get a 32.00 all-around on at least one sanction meet during the season to qualify for State Championships.
My little gymnast qualified on the first meet of the season.
This year State Championships was in Pocatello, Idaho. The first time we were going to Eastern Idaho for State. I was actually very excited and planned our trip out so we would have an awesome road trip on top of State Championships. I haven’t looked through those photos yet, maybe I’ll have some post worthy photos once I take time to go through them.
But, for now, the meet photos.
Her session was the last session of the day. I worry about that, she’s only 11… she usually goes to bed at 9pm… so when her meets push her to be doing gymnastics until 10 o’clock at night I worry she’ll falter at the end. I shouldn’t have worried that night. She did great!
She started on bars. I worried about that. She doesn’t always do her all out best on her first event of the night due to nerves. But she got upset during warm-up because she was falling out of her giants. Watch out when she gets upset… she focuses all that frustration and anger into her best routines. This night was no different. She stepped up to the bar after the judge saluted her, she flew through every move with precision and grace, and step just a little on her landing. She got a 9.55, yes, a 9.55! So on a whim I took a picture of her score. Which meant I needed to take pictures of all her scores. Which ended up being serendipity because she broke 36 for the first time in her life and I have photos of all her scores.
So here are her bar photos. Oh, and a 9.55 ended up as second place.
Then she moved to beam. She didn’t fall off! And then she got an 8.625, her best beam score ever (at least in our memory). It was actually the lowest score of her group, which means she didn’t medal on beam, but she got her best beam performance of the season. So I started to worry again. She had two great events and it was now almost 8pm… was she going to hit a wall?
Next was floor. The big news there was at the medal ceremony. She looked gorgeous, as usual. She got a 9.2, which was a good solid score, but with people scoring 9.5’s on bars I didn’t think it was a medaling score for floor. Floor is a notoriously high scoring event.
But at the ceremony they called people and called people who weren’t Em. The guy was saying the scores for the top three so he said, “With a 9.15,” and called up the third place girl. So I thought, cool, she’s getting second place. Then he said, “With a 9.175,” and I turned to my mom and pointed at the score sheet.
“I think she just…” I said.
“No she didn’t,” replied my mom in disbelief.
“I think she did!”
“And in 1st place with a 9.2,” he called Em up to get her FIRST PLACE MEDAL FOR FLOOR!
Now I got REALLY nervous. She now had 2 nines, the most she’s gotten all season. She had done well on three events, the most she’s done ever (we joke that’s she’s jinxed and can only do well on three events, even thought they are not the same events each meet), she was going to vault (which another mom and I call the crap shoot of the gymnastics meet), and it was 8:30 at night.
I watched her do some very solid warm-ups, at least they looked solid to me: she didn’t step on the landings. But then she ran her competition vaults and she took a step on both… I even commented to another (random) mom how it just kills me to see her do better warm-ups than she does in the routine. She knew what I meant, commenting on how it just wracks your nerves or something like that.
But then her score posted – a 9.150. And she’d done it – she’d gotten three 9s. And, wait, let me calculate this, she’d broken 36, and not just barely, she got a solid 36.525!
But I’ve just told you this in the order of the events and I threw in the medal info… but the medals are given out vault, bars, beam, floor, all-around. So here she’d just gotten three nines and broken 36, we didn’t really care what medals she got but figured she’d make a fairly good showing.
She got called up for third place on vault, wow, pretty good for vault.
She got called second on bars, really? With a 9.55? What? The first place girl got a 9.7 something? Okay, she deserves that, I’ve never heard of a girl getting that high of a bars score before… dang it.
No medal on beam, as expected.
And then the floor saga that I’ve already describe. Not third? Okay, second. Not second?! First?! Oh my! So awesome, Em!
And then, all-around. Her beam score hurt her in all-around, it usually does. She got 5th place, still really great, but it’s weird to get 5th after getting 1st-3rd on the other events. And by this time it was 20 minutes to 10… it shows in the photo, tired of smiling.
Then they announced the medals for the other age groups. Then they called up the all-around winner of each group for a certificate, at least I think it was the all-around winner from each group, I wasn’t really paying attention by then. Then they called people who had qualified for some team, I thought, “That’s weird, I didn’t know the level 7s qualified for any other stuff.” And then they called up Em as an ALTERNATE for this state team. Of course they had to call her name a couple of times, she had no idea what she was going to the front for, and I had my camera put away so I didn’t even get pictures of her looking all confused.
We found out later that she qualified as an alternate for the State team to National Judges Cup in 2016. This is the first year that they picked at State Championships, usually they pick in December at State Judges Cup. That’s why we weren’t expecting it.
We will find out in September if enough people declined that she goes to fill in. But until then I think I have to start saving money like we already know we are having to pay for us and her coach to go to Kentucky.
Crazy year, glad it ended on a positive note. But, like I said, even with her qualifying for the State team (and getting a spot at an invite only gymnastics camp this summer based on finishing in the top ten of all the level 7s, not just the Junior As), I doubt her coaches will recognize that she has more long term potential than their current “stars”. I guess we’ll have to see how the summer goes.