The Union Recorder

Local Sports

July 9, 2014

Elite Gymnastics posts strong showing at nationals

MILLEDGEVILLE — Competing on the national stage at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla. June 11-15, Elite Gymnastics posted some of its best results in program history at the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Gymnastics National Championship.

Five individuals competing for the Elite at the AAU championships were crowned national champions in their respective age divisions, including: Emily Lester, Lizbeth Mendez, Cierra Swiney, Kalie Todd and Shahi Patel.

The Elite program claimed seven titles at the regional/state level just weeks prior in Aly Rogers, Thea Smith, Cailyn Segrest, Brittany McCain, Swiney, Lester and Mendez.

“It’s just been a phenomenal year, and I’ve used that word over and over, but it’s the only one I know that really describes this season,” Elite owner and director Coni Moore said. “The team was just amazing, and the coaches were just so dedicated.”

With 14 total participants in Kissimmee, Elite’s success did not end with five gold medals, but also included gymnasts earning many top awards across various age groups.

“Even our rookies placed in the top five, and we had several silver and bronze medals,” Moore said.

For many of the national participants, the goal of competing on a national level began last summer after the team witnessed three individuals win titles at nationals.

“We had a good season last year as well,” Moore said. “We had three national champions last year, but we’ve seen a growth though in our team in the last three years.

“I think the success last year fueled this year — I really do,” she added. “I think the girls that didn’t quite make it to the top last year were fueled by the lessons that they learned last year. They made the corrections that they needed to make and again, set the goal for the coming year and they achieved it. It was fun to watch.”

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