Local gymnasts perform well at state competition

Published 5:25 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Greenville Gymnastics has plenty to celebrate.

Three of the team’s gymnasts recently placed at the state competition in Ozark. The girls were competing against hundreds of competitors.

In Level 5, Anne Blake Langford placed fourth, while Mary Avery Keen placed seventh and Sydney Folds placed eighth in Level 4.

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“We start at Level 1 and all of these girls compete with girls all over the state by doing the exact same routine through vault, bars, beams and floor,” coach Lauren Smith said. “We compete in six to eight competitions all over the state.

The levels are based on skills, and they have to be able to do certain skills to move up into the next level.”

Langford said it wasn’t her best competition, but she’s happy she placed.

“I didn’t place last, but I didn’t place first, but I’m glad about it,” Langford said. “I wasn’t the worst one out there, and I thought I was.”

Smith said she has a total of 95 girls at the gym but only 11 compete on the team because it is invitation only.

“These girls are in the gym at least four hours a week every week,” Smith said. “They don’t get summer breaks like other people do. It’s lots of strength work and lots of skill work to be able to do their routine. They have to learn their routine and be good at those as well.”

The girls receive medals for each event they place in as well as receive large banners that Smith hangs in the gymnasium for other to see.

“Their accomplishments are indicators for us that we have an excellent program and excellent gymnasts to work with,” Smith said.