Ascent Gymnastics wins big at state and regional championships
36 girls qualified for the state championships, and 23 had the opportunity to punch their ticket to regionals
Following their 2022 competitive season, the athletes of Mountain Rec’s Ascent Gymnastics put themselves on the map at multiple postseason competitions.
In the last several weeks, the entire 36-member team of girls qualified for the state championships, produced a few state champions across various age groups and set a rare and nearly-perfect individual score in Montrose. On top of that, 12 girls qualified for the Region 3 Regionals in San Antonio and six girls for regionals in Denver. At the regionals, the team had multiple podium finishes, and one regional champion.
“I am extremely proud. I’ve had the privilege to work with many of our girls since they were just 5 years old when we began this program over 10 years ago,” said Becky Johnson, the gymnastics supervisor at Mountain Rec. “What started as two separate teams in Gypsum and Edwards with maybe 10 competitive gymnasts total in lower levels has rapidly picked up steam and become highly competitive with higher levels being added, and significantly more complex skills being performed.”
Johnson has participated in gymnastics since the age of 3, becoming a level 10 gymnast in eighth grade. She competed for the Colorado Gymnastics Institute in Aurora and has been coaching for the past 20 years. Since arriving at Mountain Rec in 2012, Johnson has been building up the Ascent Gymnastics program one season at a time, training hundreds of gymnasts.
“I’ve grown up in this program, and this environment is one of my favorite places to be,” said Ascent Gymnast August Stovall. “When I come here it is safe place to have fun and escape everyday stresses. This year was a very memorable competition season, competing at an advanced level and thriving,”
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Over the years the program has grown, adding more levels including Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond — with Sapphire coming soon — as well as giving increased opportunities for gymnasts looking to compete at the collegiate level.
The road to regionals
To qualify for the state championships, the Ascent Team competes throughout the season across Colorado and the United States. The team also hosts its annual Ascent Classic home meet in Gypsum, which in March of 2022 brought over 300 gymnasts to compete in the valley.
This season, 36 girls qualified for the state championships, and 23 had the opportunity to punch their ticket to regionals. With 12 girls qualified for Regionals, the Platinum and Diamond levels traveled together to San Antonio in mid-May for the first three-day weekend of the competition, going up against over 130 teams at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
“Traveling with the team is always an adventure. To visit new places, have team dinners, and bond as a team is something these girls will never forget. They get to experience more than just competition, but to have fun and grow personally alongside friends that understand the unique pressures of this demanding sport,” Johnson said.
The Ascent team walked away with multiple podium finishes from Peyton Ogren as the regional champion, Brooke Shepard placing third in vault, Annie Zurbay placing third on bars, Ezrianna Gonzales placing second on bars, and Taylor O’Neil placing third in Vault.
The following weekend, regionals continued in Denver with the Gold-level team coming out with multiple podiums wins. Miranda Nixon placed second on bars, Elli Bloomfield placed third in floor, Ali Palmiter placed second in floor, and Emily Green placed second overall at regionals and first on bars.
“The girls had the chance to meet fellow gymnasts and coaches from Colorado, neighboring states, and come out with more friends and opportunity than ever before. We train hard all season and anticipate what-if scenarios. It’s a ton of pressure and nerve-racking. But you just have to sit back and know the girls are ready, just have to let them shine,” Johnson said.
As the program continues, so do the experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.
“I have become part of the gymnastics family that has a unique bond between teammates and coaches,” said Ascent gymnast Maray Lindley. “I love the opportunity to compete and practice with my best friends and then use my knowledge as a coach to improve my own gymnastics and help other gymnasts.”
To learn more about Ascent Gymnastics, visit MountainRec.org.