Local gymnastics team crowns seven champions at nationals
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — IDE Gymnastics took its usual success to a new level Saturday-Sunday and returned from the AmeriKids National Gymnastics Championship in St. Joseph, Mo., with seven national champions.
The 12 local gymnasts, in their first year sponsored by the Fairfield Park and Recreation Center, brought home a total of nine gold medals vs. a number of established teams from all over the country. The gymnasts all compete against others in their own age and skill level, which makes it possible for each child to realize his or her own potential.
Justin Simmering, the only boy in the Fairfield group to attend the meet, placed first in pommel horse, rings and parallel bars. He was second in vault and high bar and first all-around, making him the national champion for Level 3 boys, ages 10-11.
For Level 3 girls, other national champions were: Olivia McClaran, who received a first-place medal in vault as well as bars in age 11 girls; Sydney Clark and Maddie Rauscher with first-place wins in vault; and Ashlyn Elmore and Maggie Ferrell, who tied for first place in bars for girls ages 13-14. Juliette Pohren also took home a first-place medal for her performance on bars for ages 8-9 in the Novice Optionals category.
In addition to the first-place winners, second-place medals were won by: Michelle Zhang on bars; Zhang and Clark on beam; and Zhang, Bryanna Popejoy and Elmore on floor.
Third-place winners were: Pohren, Popejoy, and Elmore on vault; Libby Ferrell and Rauscher on bars; Pohren, McClaran and Rauscher on beam; and Pohren, McClaran, Rauscher and Clark on floor.
Fourth-place winners included: Danae Drish and Libby Ferrell on vault, and Maggie Ferrell on beam. Fifth-place medals went to: Maggie Ferrell for vault; Popejoy and Clark on bars; Danae Drish, Libby Ferrell, Popejoy and Elmore on beam; and Libby Ferrell and Maggie Ferrell on floor.
In addition to Justin Simmering’s first-place finish in all-around, Zhang and Clark both finished second, and third place went to Pohren, McClaran, Rauscher and Popejoy. Libby Ferrell and Elmore finished fourth all-around, Maggie Ferrell was fifth and Danae Drish finished sixth all-around. Gracey Simmering and Helen Drish added a pair of seventh-place finishes in all-around.
The team is coached by Jeff and Jeanne Ide of Brighton and will continue to practice through the summer months. Some members of the gymnastics team also belong to the trampoline team, which is on its way to Fort Lauderdale for national competition June 18-23.