Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tumbling towards Success

Tumbling towards Success
Gymnasts vie for championships
By DIANA ROBERTSON Special to the Journal

They converged on The Woodlands this weekend each with one thing on their mind - to make it to the Texas State Championships for the United States of America Gymnastics Association in Level 7.

They call it the South State Championships because gymnasts from all over the southern part of Texas come to compete for 24 coveted spots in each age bracket. The 24 places are divided equally into the Gold, Silver and Bronze divisions.

For some it was the chance to advance on to State and to meet the 8 best finalists in each division that north Texas has to offer, and for some it heralded the end of their season. As a gymnast's parent I have been on both ends of that spectrum with my daughter. She has walked away saying "Wait until next year" and "Oh my gosh I made it!". It is a very emotionally charged meet.

When the chalk settled all of the local gyms in the golden triangle area are being represented. Olympic Dreams, Beaumont Gymnastics and Lumberton Gymnastics all can boast of having gymnasts headed for Denton and the Level 7 Texas State Championships on March 15th and 16th. Some of the gymnasts competing also compete for the Beaumont Independent School District through the Ozen Magnet Gymnastics program.

Jamie Casteel, Lauren Long and Callie Robertson are all BISD gymnasts and all of them made the cut to advance to State in the Senior B category. These young ladies truly had a workout having competed at Bryan High School the Friday before South State. These gymnasts had to catch a school bus at 5:45 on Friday morning, compete and return to Beaumont at 7:30pm Friday night.

They had to be in Houston Saturday morning by 8am to compete again. What is even more impressive is that high school gymnastics does not have a Level 7 so these girls compete at Level 8 complete with different skill requirements and choreographed routines for school and then competed Level 7 the very next morning. The girls barely missed receiving the 3rd place team trophy at Bryan and had two gymnasts to receive medals on floor and the all around division. Lauren and Callie both compete for Coach Jeff Dockens at Lumberton Gymnastics. Jamie competes for Coach Debbie Allport with Beaumont Gymnastics. All three girls compete for Coach CH Colvin for Ozen High School.

Of all the girls competing one young lady is painfully aware of the sacrifice and hard work that goes into gymnastics. Callie Robertson has been in gymnastics since she was six years old. In January of 2007 Callie was practicing a Sukahara vault and landed short injuring both of her ankles.

Most children heal from these types of injuries within 6-8 weeks. Callie, however, was not better in that time frame. She went to a specialist in Houston where she was diagnosed with CRPS/RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy). Basically Callie's sympathetic nervous system short circuits whenever trauma occurs, especially to the limbs. It has been an uphill battle with this disease which in its prime can be crippling. Callie was placed in a cast this past November in an effort to help stabilize her ankle. She continued to practice at Lumberton and Ozen doing double fulls on the tumble track. For girls like Callie gymnastics is in their blood.

They don't walk, they cartwheel, they don't hop, they jump and tumble.

No comments: