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4:15 PM Sat, Nov. 17th

Prescott YMCA hosts State gymnastics meet Saturday

PRESCOTT – The YMCA State Gymnastics Championships are coming to Prescott.

The competition for the Level 4 girls will start at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday at the Prescott YMCA gym while Levels 5 and 6 are scheduled to compete at 3:45 p.m. the same day.

Jill Wilson, the YMCA girls' gymnastics coach said that all the YMCAs in the state that have gymnastics programs were invited to compete. About 50 gymnasts from Deer Valley, Mesa, Tempe and Prescott YMCAs will participate at the meet. Initially, Level 7 and 8 gymnasts from Deer Valley YMCA were scheduled to compete, but they decided not to because other Ys don't have gymnasts of that level to compete against, added Wilson.

"They are also working toward the YMCA National Championship in Ohio," Wilson explains.

The Prescott YMCA gymnastics program began rebuilding itself two years ago.

"This is our second year since we've been in here," Wilson said. "We are finally building some talent. We had to start from scratch. It (gymnastic program) was closed for three to four months until the YMCA Board decided to continue with it. They put $12,000 into the gymnastic program."

Wilson said that YMCA lost its gymnasts, including higher level competitors because a former YMCA coach, Eric Hoover, formed its private gymnastic club. Gymnasts decided to leave YMCA to train with Hoover.

Having a financial support from the Board and people who were enthusiastic to keep the program, the Prescott YMCA gymnastics got back on track.

"We have 400 members in Prescott, and about 60 in Prescott Valley," Wilson said. "Most of our kids fit the age group between 5 to 10."

Yet, the YMCA encourages toddlers as young as 18 months to be introduced to the elements of gymnastics.

"The YMCA gives opportunities for everybody," Wilson said. "Especially for people with a limited income."

Wilson said that she is anticipating her gymnasts to place first and second at the upcoming Championships.

A local Level 5 gymnast, Maddie Velling, has a great chance to take a Championship, Wilson said.

"We are on the mission to show that YMCA gymnastics can compete with the private clubs," Wilson said.

The Level 4 gymnastics is the first year of the competitive gymnastics. Levels 5 and 6 are compulsory gymnastics. The Junior Olympic program assigns the rules for these two levels.

As a result, each gymnast is required to execute the same skills. A more serious form of gymnastics begins at the level 7 and is regarded as the optional gymnastics. Gymnasts have more flexibility with their routines, but they are required to follow certain rules.

Admission for the 2001 YMCA Girls State Gymnastic Championship is $1 per person. For more information about the event contact the YMCA gymnastics department at 445-7221.

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Last Week's Results:

•The 2001 YMCA Boys State Gymnastic Championship took place at the Prescott YMCA past weekend. Twenty-five young gymnasts from Prescott, Deer Valley and Mesa YMCAs participated at the Championship competing in six Olympic events: floor, horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar.

In the all around, Class 7, age group Seven years and Under, Dylan Mills of Prescott YMCA placed first with the score of 53.200. Second and third place went to Nick Schweers and Sean Martel of Deer Valley. Mills scored highest on the rings, 9.5000, while Schweers' best events were the vault and hi bar scoring 8.900 in both.

In the Class 7, age group Eight years and Up, all around winner was Cody Zea of Prescott. Zea's scores for the parallel bars, rings and hi bar were 9.00 or above totaling to 52.900 in six events. Deer Valley gymnasts, Ethan Mitchell and Connor Tracy finished second and third with 51.900 and 51.450 all around scores.

In the Class 6, age group Seven years and under, only two gymnasts participated. Executing the required skills, Prescott's gymnasts, Bridger Pierson and Jamison Phelps had consistent scores. In the end, Pierson edged slightly over Phelps. Scoring in three events 8.300 or above, Pierson's all around score totaled to 47.000 while Phelps concluded with 46.900.

The last category of gymnasts was the Class 6, age group Eight years and Up. Five gymnasts of Prescott YMCA and two of Deer Valley competed in this category. Steve Bagdon, a Prescott's gymnast took first place with all around score of 54.050. His teammates, Dylan Quigley and Kelsey Knudsen placed second and third. Bagdon's and Knudsen scored the highest on the vault.

Quigley's best event was high bar.