Young gymnasts making their marks

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Welcomed to the floor by a Star-spangled Banner salute, members of several East County based gymnastics clubs medaled at the California state gymnastics championships, held Saturday (Nov. 17) at the Town & Country Hotel Convention Center.   “The London Olympics were huge for us,” said Olin Eaves, a coach for Elite

Welcomed to the floor by a Star-spangled Banner salute, members of several East County based gymnastics clubs medaled at the California state gymnastics championships, held Saturday (Nov. 17) at the Town & Country Hotel Convention Center.   “The London Olympics were huge for us,” said Olin Eaves, a coach for Elite

Gymnastics, located near Gillespie Field. “I’ve had dozens of girls say, ‘I watched Gaby Douglas win gold, and I want to, too.’ She inspired the next generation in gymnastics.”   Stirring results are already filtering though, with Elite presenting three medalists against the best in the nation.   “Southern California is a hot bed for gymnastics, especially in Los Angeles, where it can be cut-throat,” added Eaves. “But we competed well against them, even though it was tough.”   The top performers from Elite were Leah Parsons and Syndee Salvati, both 11.   Parsons, a Level 5 gymnast, earned a silver medal in the uneven bars with a score of 9.450 points. Salvati, a Level 4 performer,also gained a silver medal, finishing as the runner-up in the vault with 9.175 points from the judging panel.   “It was a neat experience, with a Red, White & Blue show and a Red Carpet for introductions,” added the coach. “The organizers made the athletes feel like they were at the Olympic Trails.”   Also medaling was 9-year old Lacie Baty, already a Level 4 athlete, who tallied 9.250 to earn a bronze medal as the third-place finisher in balance beam.   “A score of 9.250 is amazing,” Eaves exclaimed. “That score is higher than her age!”   “All three of our girls had incredible accomplishments. They were all able to do things you don’t do in traditional sports at their age.”   The Southland is considered a hot-bed for gymnastics since two members of the U.S. Olympic Team—nicknamed the “Fierce Five”—all came from Southern California gyms. The quintet includes Douglas (now known as Gabreille Douglas), and her teammates, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman,  Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber.   “We’ve been able to produce state and national champions at all levels,” noted Greg McCalester, who founded Elite along with his wide, Paula, in 1999. “Our girls certainly compete with the best.”       SUBHEAD Santee YMCA Comets results to come
 

From the Santee YMCA team, Michaela Rush placed second overall with 31.95 points.   Rush, 15, captured the balance beam competition at 8.75, then was second in the other three events (bars, beam and floor).
 

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