Local gymnasts crossed a state to compete among the best in their sport, watch college-level competitors and aspire to be even better during what was likely their last competition of the season.
Clute’s All American Gymnastics team competed at the Purple and Gold Classic Feb. 28 to March 1 at the Raising Canes River Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“They all did great; it was a great time. For a lot of them, it was their first time competing out of state,” All American Gymnastics coach and co-owner Shey Willcoxon said. “Most of our competitions are only in the Houston area and I know it was really fun coming out of state to compete with them.”
The entire team went to the meet, competing in the vault, bars, beam, floor and all-around events.
Only the level five and six teams were able to place as a team. The level-five team placed seventh out of eight while the level-six team placed fourth out of 11 in the all-ages division.
“In gymnastics there are different levels. We competed in levels three, four, five, six and level seven,” Willcoxon said. “It was a competitive meet, but the competitive teams are the only ones that get to compete.”
And compete they did, as the girls did well in their individually specific levels and divisions throughout the tournament.
In level three, Kailyn Wiley won first place in the vault in Senior B division with a score of 9.450, seventh in bars (9.375), eight in beam (9.075), 12th in floor (9.175) and fifth in the all- around (37.075). For the rest of her teammates, Ryleigh Hendrix placed fourth in Senior A in the vault (9.050), third in bars (9.450), 11th in beam (8.950), first in floor (9.525) and second in the all-around with 36.975 points; Averie Boswell placed eighth in Senior B in the vault (9.175), ninth in the bars (9.300), sixth in the beam (9.125), ninth in the floor (9.325) and seventh in the all-around with 36.925 points.
Faith Tomlinson placed seventh in the Junior B vault with 8.775 points, ninth in the bars (9.150), eighth in the beam (8.800), 11th in the floor (8.975) and 10th in the all-around (35.700); Alyssa Muraira placed 10th in the vault in Junior B (8.650), 11th in the bars (8.950), sixth in the beam (8.950), ninth in the floor (9.125) and 11th in the all-around (35.675); Audrie Widner placed 11th in the vault in Junior B (8.600), 12th in the bars (8.725), 11th in the beam (8.600), 12th in the floor (8.925) and 12th in the all-around (34.850); Kylie Alexander placed 10th in Senior A vault (8.850), 15th in the bars (8.525), 14th in the beam (8.525), 14th in the floor (8.750) and 15th in the all-around (34.650).
Sadie Park placed 15th in the Senior A vault (8.675), 16th in the bars (8.150), 15th in the beams (8.475), 13th in the floor (8.825) and 16th in the all-around (34.125) and Kyleigh Springer placed 14th in the Junior A vault (8.550), 14th in the bars (8.150), 15th in the beam (7.650), 14th in the floor (8.975) and 14th in the all-around with 33.325 points total.
For level four, Leah Dodd placed 11th in the Senior A vault (7.950), eighth in the bars (9.000), 16th in the beam (8.350), 12th in the floor (8.950) and 12th in the all-around (34.250); Zaylee Wolfgang placed ninth in the Senior A vault (8.000), 19th in the bars (7.750), 10th in the beam (8.700), 14th in the floor (8.650) and 17th in the all- around (33.100); Hailey Villanueva placed 11th in the Senior B vault (8.100), 13th in the bars (8.850), sixth in the beam (8.950), fifth in the floor (9.175) and ninth in the all-around (35.075) and Christy Essy placed 18th in the Senior B vault (7.250), 16th in the bars (8.150), 12th in the beam (8.550), sixth in the floor (9.150) and 16th in the all-around with 33.100 points total.
In level five, Kynadee Toomer placed 12th in the Child division vault with 8.150 points, 14th in bars (7.050), fifth in the beam (8.800) second in floor (9.225) and 13th in the all- around with 33.225 points. McKenna Berryman placed third in the Junior division vault with 8.750 points, 10th in the bars (7.650), 10th in the beam (8.350), first in the floor (9.225) and eight in the all-around with 33.975 points total.
For level six, Braxton Schill placed 16th in the Senior vault (8.050), ninth in the bars (9.000), 11th in the beam (8.725), 10th in the floor (9.225) and 14th in the all-around with 35.000 points total; Mia Dodd placed 17th in the Senior vault (7.800), 14th in the bars (8.500), 14th in the beam (8.400), 14th in the floor (9.050) and 16th in the all-around (33.750); Isabella McAdams placed 15th in the Senior vault (8.150), 18th in the bar (8.200), 16th in the beam (8.200), 16th in the floor (8.975) and 17th in the all-around (33.525) and Lainey Cooper placed 11th in the Junior vault with 8.050 points, seventh in the bars (8.700), fifth in the beam (8.950), 11th in the floor (9.025) and 10th in the all-around with 34.725 total points.
Lastly, Sydney Horsch in level seven placed 10th in Senior A vault with 8.700 points, ninth in the bar (9.125), eighth in the beam (9.150), 12th in the floor (9.225) and ninth in the all- around with 36.200 points total.
“We were happy we got to go to the LSU meet because it was probably everyone’s last competition of the season,” Willcoxon said. “All my lovies have worked so hard, but they had a good time at LSU. We met a lot of people from all over.”
While in Baton Rouge, the All American Gymnastics gymnasts got to watch LSU’s gymnastics team compete against Arkansas. Being able to see that combined with the upper level talent of the Purple and Gold Classic is something Willcoxon hopes inspires her gymnasts to be even better and attain greater heights.
“It is always helpful for our little girls to see higher- level gymnasts,” Willcoxon said. “It’s a great motivator and a great thing to see girls doing the same thing they’re doing and have some association with and where they can be.”
All American Gymnastics is temporarily closed like many other places at the moment, but its coaches are optimistic about the future, Willcoxon said. Since she began coaching the sport in 1993 with her husband Brian, who has coached since 1986, Willcoxon believes the sport is growing and even beneficial for other sports.
“I think it is getting to be a well known sport and I think even if a person doesn’t want to be a competitive gymnast, they can do it for sport development,” Shey Willcoxon said. “Whatever sport they want to do, we help with strength, coordination, we work balance. It helps with a lot.”