Endless Mountains Gymnastics finds success at AAU nationals
A number of athletes from Endless Mountains Gymnastics made the trip to Florida for AAU Age Group Nationals and they came away with some big performances.
The competition was held at the ESPN Complex at Disney World and for the athletes it was a great time.
"It was a fun experience," Anny Clauser said. "It was a lot of fun."
"It was really fun," Morgan Rockwell said.
While many of the gymnasts have been to nationals before, this was the first trip to AAU Nationals.
"It was a lot less pressure," Ally Tama said. "You don't have to qualify to get in."
"It was bigger, but it felt more relaxed," Alycia Lykens said.
"It was more laid back and more fun," Sam Davenport said.
"I thought it was pretty fun," Torrah Dughi said.
For all the gymnasts it was a little different being in someplace as big as the ESPN Complex.
"It was a bigger stadium," Davenport said. "There were three different gyms in there."
"There was a lot more room in the gyms," Rockwell added.
Being in a place that big could be intimidating at times for the gymnasts.
"It was kind of scary at first," Ashlee Newton said. "There are a lot of people there."
For kids in their first nationals it was scary at first.
"At first it was," Aliyah Nimmo said. "But, it wasn't after I got on the floor."
For Davenport and Tama the experience was a little different as they were competing in a new level that they moved to midway through the year.
"It was a new level for some of us, and it's different when you switch in the middle of the year," Tama said.
"It was hard, but I liked the higher level," Davenport added.
There are a number of age groups at the meet, including a ladies open event, which meant that Maribelle Albert got a chance to compete at the same meet as her mom Liz, one of the people who runs the gym.
"The fun part about nationals is that my mom gets to compete with me," Maribelle said.
Getting a chance to head to Florida for nationals was fun for the gymnasts.
"It's always nice to go to new places," Lykens said.
And there was more than just the gymnastics for the kids to enjoy.
"I liked going to Sea World," Mia Wilcox said.
"It was pretty cool to go to Sea World and stuff," Taylor Psolka said.
"I saw Disney World," Nimmo said as one of the highlights of the trip.
For many of the gymnasts their performances were really good at nationals.
"It was pretty good," Mikenna Shafer said. "My vaults weren't that good, but still it was a lot of fun."
For some gymnasts it was their first time at nationals.
"I thought I did pretty good," Hannah Shreve said.
"It was good," her sister Harley Shreve added.
"It was good for my first nationals," Psolka said.
"I felt good," Braedan Dughi said of his performance.
Whether it was their first time, or they have been there before, the gymnasts felt like they had a good day.
"I think I did good," Makynna Wickwire said.
One of the winners at the competition was Wilcox, who took first on the vault in the girls novice division.
"It was great," she said.
It was also fun just to be a part of the group going down for the gymnasts.
"The best part was probably watching my other teammates compete," Torrah Dguhi said.
While many of the gymnasts are younger, Clauser is a high school graduate who was competing in one of her last meets before she heads off to Clearwater Christian College in Florida.
"It was sad, but it was good," Clauser said. "They (her teammates) inspired me."
For Clauser she was in the ladies open competition, competing with her coach Liz Albert.
"It was nice, it was good to get to be with Liz, and compete side-by-side with her," Clauser said.
Watching some of the older gymnasts has helped inspire Clauser to realize she might be able to continue her gymnastics.
"There were ladies 40 and 50 years old flipping around," Clauser said. "It was like God poked me and said 'you can do this to," she said.
So, Clauser has now found a place in Florida to train.
"I actually found a club down in Florida, so I will be able to stick with it," she said. "I will definitely miss everybody, but the team down there reminded me of my team up here."
While Clauser is done with her time at Endless Mountains Gymnastics she loved the chance to be at the ESPN Complex for her next to last meet.
"It's an honor," she said. "For someone that was a little girl from Herrickville that started pretty old, I never thought I would be able to take my gymnastics so far."
And, with the open competition for women, perhaps Clauser will see her teammates again in Florida.
"Maybe we will meet up every year at Nationals," she said.
Liz Albert had first place finishes in the vault, bars, beam, floor and all-around for the Ladies Open division. Clauser was second in the bars, beam, floor and all-around and third in the vault.
Wilcox had a first-place finish in the vault for girls novice and Lykens was first on the bars in level seven and third on the beam and fourth in the all-around.
In girls novice Hannah Shreve took second on the floor, while Harley Shreve was fourth in the bars and floor, while Kendall Kitchen took sixth in the vault and beam and fifth in the all-around.
Marie Scarborough took ninth in the vault and Rockwell was ninth on the floor.
Nimmo took 10th on the floor and Staples took 10th on the vault, while Callie Bennett was 12th on the vault.
For the girls advanced Psolka took third on the bars, fourth on the beam, sixth on the floor and fifth in the all-around and Torrah Dughi took sixth on the beam and the floor.
In level eight Tama was fourth in the vault and fifth in the beam and floor, while Davenport finished third in the vault and fifth in the bars, along with sixth in the beam and all-around.
In level seven Casey Dudock was ninth on the bars and Newton took fifth on the vault and 10th on the beam.
On the boys side in level four Braeden Dughi was eighth on the vault and Noah Shafer took eighth on the parallel bars.