Three DEFY Gymnasts Win Northeast Regional Titles

Three DEFY Gymnasts Win Northeast Regional Titles

Written by  Hugh Bowden Tuesday, May 08, 2012 at 3:10 pm

ELLSWORTH — “From soup to nuts, it’s been the best year we’ve ever had,” said a jubilant Doug Springer of Springers Gymnastics Center on Monday.

Eleven gymnasts from the center, representing the Down East Family YMCA, had just returned from a weekend in Glens Falls, N.Y., competing with more than 920 gymnasts from seven states in the Northeast YMCA Regional Championships.

“It was the biggest meet the DEFY gymnasts have ever attended,” said Springer, “and we had the best result.”

Over the weekend, every one of the 11 girls appeared on the awards podium at least once. “Seven of them placed in the all-around and three won individual event championships,” said the happy coach.

Competing at Level 5 for ages 6-8, Paige Sawyer won championships on the vault and in the floor exercise, placed fourth on the bars and eighth on the balance beam, and was runner-up in the all-around competition.

At Level 8 for ages 14-15, Ellie Mason was the floor exercise champion and placed eighth in the vault.

And at Level 4 for age 10, Madelyn Nida was vault champion, placed second on bars, 12th in the floor exercise and was seventh all-around.

“This was the biggest group of girls we have ever sent,” said Springer, whose center celebrated its seventh anniversary on May 5. “We have a competitive team of 21 and 16 actually qualified, but five did not go for a number of reasons.

“Every one of the girls who went down there did exactly what they needed to by performing at their absolute best,” he said. “We could not have asked anyone to do anything more. Collectively, they had the meet of the year.”

It also was the final meet for graduating high school senior Liana Arquette, who will be heading to Pacific University in Oregon.

“Liana has been a major part of our team for over five years,” said Springer. “She is a true leader and one of our most valuable coaches and will be sorely missed.”

Following are the remaining meet results:

Level 8, ages 16-18

Liana Arquette: fourth on floor, ninth on beam, 10th on vault, 11th on bars, eighth all-around.

Excel Intermediate, ages 15-18

Alicia Allen: fourth on beam, fifth on vault, eighth on floor, 12th all-around.

Level 6, ages 14-18

Briana Clark: fifth on bars, seventh on vault, eighth on beam, 10th on floor, eighth all-around.

Level 6, age 13

Taylor Wright: ninth on beam, 10th on bars, 11th on floor, 12th all-around.

Natalie Klaver: fourth on beam, eighth on bars and ninth on vault.

Level 5, age 10

Eleanor Bannerman: second on floor, 12th on beam.

Level 4, age 9

Olivia West: second on vault.

Level 4, age 8

Gilly Rice: third on bars and floor, fourth on beam, sixth on vault, third all-around.

As a special attraction, two-time World Champion and Olympic Silver Medalist Chellsie Memmel was on hand to speak at the opening ceremonies and sign autographs.

Lunch with Memmel was the prize in a random drawing held by the host team and DEFY gymnast Natalie Klaver of Bar Harbor was the winner.

Klaver and Level 6 teammates Briana Clark and Taylor Wright lunched with Memmel at a local restaurant an hour before their meet on Saturday.

“The girls were so excited and a bit awestruck during lunch,” said Springer, “but the meeting was just the boost they needed.

“The three of them have become very close friends this year and worked so hard to make it to this meet,” said the coach. “To have lunch with an Olympian was just the absolute best way to finish a season.”

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