The last weekend of April, Twistars USA hosted the 2017 Level 9 Eastern National Championships. At Level 9, the second highest JO competitive level, Nationals are contested in two separate locations [East & West] due to the large amount of athletes competing at that level. The Eastern National Championships are comprised of all the states east of the Mississippi River. The top 7 athletes from each region qualify to compete at these championships. Region 5 has a strong history at the Level 9 Nationals of excellence, just like we do with Level 10. This year the Level 9 ladies representing Region 5 came away with the Super Team Title as well as numerous All-Around and individual event titles.
Due to schedule conflicts Region 5 Insider was not able to cover the competition. However, with the help of parents, coaches & athletes we were however able to provide coverage from afar and keep everyone posted of the success of Region 5 at these championships. As part of our championships coverage we sent out questionnaires to the athletes from Region 5 who came away with the top prize, being named Level 9 Eastern National All-Around Champion.
Please enjoy our post meet coverage and interviews with the winners. Below we will start with Junior 1 All-Around Champion & hometown girl Twistars Kendall Abney.
CONGRATULATIONS!!!! How does it feel to be the 2017 National Junior 1 All Around!! Tell us how your meet went today? Walk us through each moment of your day, warm ups, events etc…. My meet went pretty well. I had a lot of fun at my first nationals. Once I got to the meet I was feeling nervous and excited. I was happy that I qualified to nationals because there were so many really great gymnasts at regionals. When warm ups started I got into my mindset of competing. I was nervous because I started on beam. I upgraded my series to my hand lay lay. I was a little nervous because this was my first time competing that series and I really wanted to do well. I felt pretty good with my beam routine and was happy I made my new series. I was disappointed because I had a big wobble on my back tuck and almost fell, but I saved it. Next was floor. I was really excited because I love competing floor. I competed my two and a half for the first time. I think I could have done a little bit better on it but overall was pretty happy with my floor routine. Next was vault. I also upgraded my vault to a layout instead of doing a pike. I felt pretty good with it. The last event that I competed was bars. I didn’t upgrade my bar routine at all. I competed the routine that I competed all season. I have been really working on hitting my handstands and sticking the dismount. I was pretty happy with my bar routine, but I think I could have done a bit better.
Tell us about the atmosphere of the meet compared to regular season meets you have been too. The atmosphere in this meet is a lot more excited. The energy is a lot higher than regular meets. All the coaches and gymnasts cheer for each other. It was a lot of fun!
What is it like being part of Region 5 at Eastern Nationals? It is a lot of fun. We got flashing sunglasses and pom pons to use for march in and awards. All of the girls and coaches from Region 5 act as one team event though you might not go to the same gym. Everyone cheers each other on and wants them to do their best!
How has your experience been here at Nationals? What have you been doing besides competing? It was a little different because my gym hosted Nationals so I didn’t get to go anywhere cool. But it was nice to have it at our home gym. I had a lot of family come to watch me which was really great!
When the meet is over what is or what was the first thing you did to celebrate your win? I got a shirt that says National Champion on the back. We took pictures and then I watched my teammates in the next session.
Other than becoming National Champion, what was one highlight of the meet for you today? One of the highlights was being able to meet new girls from all over. Another highlight was making all 3 of my upgraded routines.
Anything crazy or funny happen during your meet today? My coach wore big blue hands that said Region 5 on them! My other coach dressed up in a red, white, and blue costume with a tall hat! My floor music didn’t start from the beginning. That was the first time my music didn’t start right at a competition. So I had to wait for it.
How does Region 5 compare to the other Regions out on the competition Floor? What sets Region 5 apart? Region 5 is really loud! They cheer for each other and are very supportive! We did a cheer before each event!
Who inspired you the most today? What did they say to you? How did you get amped up and motivated today? My coaches inspired me the most. They encouraged me to work hard in the gym everyday. They motivated me to believe that I could do my upgraded skills for this meet. They believed in me and helped me believe in myself. Also, before each event my coaches would tell me I can do this. Brett would have us pick out of a cup to see what cheer we would do before each event.
Check out Kendall beam set from 2017 Level 9 Easterns (look for the Layout Layout!!)
Congratulations to Kendall and the coaching staff of Twistars USA! We definitely see big things for this young athlete in the future as she continues her journey in the sport of Gymnastics.
Stay tuned for our next Region 5 Eastern National All-Around Champion.