El Cajon High School gymnast moving toward U.S. national gymnastics team

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EL CAJON–Eight-year-old Bobby Rutherford was a rambunctious, fun-loving child.
“The story goes, as I was told, it that he would tumble throughout the house all day long,” said Paula McCalester. “So his parents signed him up for tumbling class.”

EL CAJON–Eight-year-old Bobby Rutherford was a rambunctious, fun-loving child.
“The story goes, as I was told, it that he would tumble throughout the house all day long,” said Paula McCalester. “So his parents signed him up for tumbling class.”

A decade later, Rutherford is making is splash as one of top athletes at El Cajon Valley High School, yet he doesn’t compete for the Braves. Instead, Rutherford is one of the top gymnasts in San Diego County.
“I do the all-around, which is all six events,” noted Rutherford, 18. “It’s something I grew up with and learned from my family.”

Rutherford’s father was also a gymnast. Both grandparents were, too. Yet none reached the level the younger Rutherford achieved at on Apr. 4.
“Bobby, one of about a dozen Level 10 gymnasts in the county, qualified for nationals,” said McCalester, owner-operator of Elite Gymnastics Academy. “This is a huge accomplishment and it’s a very proud moment for everyone at the academy.”

Competing at the Region I (covering California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah) meet held in Reno, Nev., Rutherford was nails on the floor exercise, which may be the toughest, but for him easiest event, and parallel bars. The other apparatuses are pommel horse, rings, high bar and vault.
“Bobby placed 15th overall and was a member of the Region I All-Star team which took second place,” McCalester said. “Thus, he qualified for the Junior Olympic Nationals.”

The JOs, as it’s called, is as high as an American gymnast can go before moving up to the elite stage for athletes attempting to join the U.S. National team. The national’s meet is fast arriving, to be held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland on April 30.

El Cajon Valley High has been noted for recent developments in team sports, with boys’ soccer and boys’ basketball winning first-ever league titles this decade. But other than wrestling, individual achievements have been scarce—until Rutherford.

“Not many people know me on campus,” said Rutherford. “Only the vice principal (for athletes, Steve Gotowala) and a few of my teachers know.”

Rutherford stands 5 ft. 4 and weighs 130 pounds, but don’t let his size fool you.
“You need long, lean muscles to compete in gymnastics,” McCalester said. “So he never does any training with weights. He gets enough done on each apparatus.”

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