SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - For the first time ever at the Elite Sports Academy, the Level 5 gymnasts won the state championship.
“It really is a great opportunity,” ESA Level 5 gymnast Jessica Kuhlmann said. “We worked so hard and I am just proud of my team.”
“It was a very cool feeling,” ESA Level 5 gymnast Taylor Cannon said. “It felt very good to know that we had worked hard enough to get that place.”
Coach Camille Cole says the success of the ESA Level 5’s is not a surprise at all. She says the bond they have on the mat really sets them apart from the pack.
“Their personalities just click together,” Cole said. “They are great to coach. Sometimes you don’t always find that from an entire group. They are just a sweet group of girls and just hard working. You just can’t ask for more than that to work with.”
And the girls say their hard work is only beginning.
“Obviously, all of us want to move up,” Cannon said. “We probably want to win more states in the future and once we get to optional, hopefully we can try to get to Nationals.”
But one local ESA gymnast has already made the trip to nationals and she is on her way back. Level 9 ESA star Kira Wilson is going back to Nationals for the second straight year. Last year she finished 14th overall and she wants to improve her score.
“I’m super excited to go back for a second time,” Wilson said. “I’m super grateful for Region 5 for giving me this opportunity to go and do well in the competition.”
In last year’s competition, Wilson played hurt with a minor injury, but this year she’s 100 percent healthy and ready to go.
“I think I am way more confident this year than I was last year,” Wilson said. “Last year I was nervous and now I know what it feels like to compete at Nationals.”
Wilson says she is excited to represent not only her ESA team but all of the gymnasts across the Midwest.
“It’s amazing for me because going against really good regions and really good gymnasts and it’s really cool to have the opportunity to do that and represent your club, your state and your region” Wilson said. “
But most of all, she wants to have some fun.
“I hope to gain a valuable experience and I hope to place well and do well in the competition,” Wilson said.
Nationals begin for Wilson on May 8 down in Kissimmee, Florida. While Wilson’s short term goal is to perform well at Nationals, her long term goal is to be a gymnast at the collegiate level and compete in the NCAAs. NewsCenter16 will keep you updated on Wilson's run at Nationals.