EARLY, Texas - Some students in Brown County's Seal Gymnastics have stuck the landing for a chance to compete in a national sports competition.
11 gymnasts, ranging from third grade to high school, will be going to Kansas City, Missouri, next Wednesday to compete in the U.S. Trampoline and Tumbling Championships. It's also been referred to as the 2013 Junior Olympics. These gymnasts had to qualify in the state or regional meets to make it this far to nationals. There are more than 2,000 athletes from more than 400 teams attending this year's competition.
"It's a big deal if you win because it means you're the best in the nation," said 14-year-old competitor Jack Robinson.
Owner and coach Robert Wade said this is his 19th year going to nationals. He said he is proud of his athletes regardless of the results.
"The training is pretty intense," Wade said, "So when I see any of the kids go out there, accomplish what they accomplish, whether it's winning first place or whether it's just getting through their passes, it's a very rewarding experience as a coach to see them get there."
Libby Underwood is another competitor who is looking forward to the meet. "I'm excited to see how it all turns out and how everyone does."
Wade said gymnastics is a big commitment. Everyone on the team was required to practice a minimum of four hours a week. "They put in a lot of effort and a lot of hard work. They have to overcome issues, physically and mentally."
Robinson said gymnastics is more than just a sport to him. "This is like my passion," Robinson said, "These are my best friends and people I can relate to. When you go to competitions, I also like meeting new people. I have friends all across the country."
It's a family affair for Wade because his sons and daughter, as well as his niece, are involved in gymnastics.
The competition runs from July 3, 2013 through July 10, 2013. Cici's Pizza will donate a portion of its profits to help the gymnasts pay for their trip to Missouri.