Flames to send 10 gymnasts to nationals
The All American Flames Gymnastix gym in Port Huron is sending its largest number of athletes to their respective national competitions after a successful weekend of regional championships.
“It’s a good trend. You like to see as many kids go to nationals as possible, so I think it says a lot to see [that happen] because it takes time to develop,” coach and gym owner Mel Scheible said. “The boys program is coming along nicely. We have a lot of high-level boys. There aren’t a lot of high-level boys in the country anymore so that’s fun to see.”
Zachary Scheible and Collin Lilley lead the way in Level 10 boys. Zach Scheible scored a 71.650 all-around to place 19th, while Lilley finished 21st with an all-around score of 70.450.
“Zach and Collin…made it last year, so we kind of expected those two boys to go again,” Mel Scheible said. “They did their jobs and they’re both repeating at Level 10 Nationals.”
The boys will be competing in Oklahoma City along with three Level 10 girls May 12-14.
The girls were led by Hannah Scheible with an all-around score of 39.125. She was the Region 5 champion with a perfect score on vault. She’ll be joined by Annabelle Schneider who placed eighth in the Level 10 Senior Division (36.600) and Noella Marshall, who placed fifth (36.525) in the Level 10 Junior Division.
“We expected Hannah to make it, she ended up having the highest all-around in all of Region 5 so that was good to see from her,” Mel Scheible said. “Noella in particular, she’s been kind of having a rough year. It was her first year in Level 10 so it was kind of stressful, it’s a big jump.
“She really struggled getting to regionals in the first place, so we were like, ‘OK, let’s just go have a good meet.’ She just totally enjoyed the meet, no stress, and ended up qualifying. That was a very special surprise. For her to make nationals was great.”
As for Schneider, this is her first time qualifying for nationals as well, which, as a hopeful college competitor, will bode well for her recruiting process.
“She really wants to go to Eastern Michigan University. Hopefully she does well at nationals and that’ll seal the deal,” Mel Scheible said. “She had a great meet…She was totally stoked, we’re excited for her.”
As a prelude to the Level 10 National Championship, five other Level 8 and Level 9 athletes will be competing in Florida this weekend and next.
Chris Herms qualified for the boys Level 9 Eastern Nationals with an all-around score of 65.750, while J.W. Cole (67.050), Lucas Fowler (65.100), and Jacob McCormick (62.400) qualified as Level 8 gymnasts. They’ll be competing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, April 28-30.
And as the lone Level 9 girl, Mallory Simon tied for third overall with a score of 36.475 at the regional meet. While this may be her first time qualifying for Eastern Nationals in Kissimee, Florida, May 5-7, it was her third-straight regional title in bar.
“She had to be in the top 7 in her age group, so it’s pretty tough to qualify,” Mel Scheible said. “We knew that she could make it provided that she hit all of her stuff and she did. She was a regional bar champion so that was exciting. She’s been a regional bar champ three years in a row now.”
Mel Scheible credits this year's success with years of creating and celebrating a culture of excellence.
"I think there’s motivation when they see other athletes making it. They want to [qualify for nationals] as well because we make a really big deal out of it at the gym," she said. "We have a big send off party and we get them little gift baskets and then honor them at the awards banquets with rings.
"I think when you create that culture of really good gymnastics, when little kids see that, they think, ‘Oh I want to do that too.'"
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