Following a fantastic 2022 competitive season, the athletes of Mountain Rec’s Ascent Gymnastics put themselves on the map at multiple post-season competitions. In the last several weeks the entire 36-girl team 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, twelve girls qualified to the Region 3 Regionals in San Antonio and six girls to Regionals in Denver; the team had multiple podium finishes, and celebrated our very own Regional Champion.
“I am extremely proud. I’ve had the privilege to work with many of our girls since they were just five years old when we began this program over ten years ago,” shares Becky Johnson, Gymnastics Supervisor at Mountain Rec. “What started as two separate teams in Gypsum and Edwards with maybe ten 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,” continued Johnson.
Having participated in gymnastics since the age of three, became a level ten gymnast in eighth grade, competed for the Colorado Gymnastics Institute in Aurora, and coached for the past 20 years, Johnson has been building up the Ascent Gymnastics program one season at a time since arriving at Mountain Rec in 2012, giving hundreds of gymnasts a home away from home.
“I’ve grown up in this program, and this environment is one of my favorite places to be. 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,” said August Stovall, Ascent Gymnast.
Over the years the program has grown, adding more levels including Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond–with Sapphire coming soon–and 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 US, at meets like the Magical Classic, minutes from Disney World in Orlando and the Sun Devil Classic in Phoenix. The team also hosts their annual Ascent Classic home meet in Gypsum, that in March of 2022 brought over 300 gymnasts and their loved ones to the valley.
This season 36 girls qualified for the state championships, and twenty three had the opportunity to punch their ticket to Regionals. The girls showed Colorado what they were made of, landing many podium finishes across Diamond, Platinum, and Gold levels.
With twelve girls qualified for Regionals, the Platinum and Diamond levels traveled together to San Antonio, Texas in mid-May for the first three-day weekend of the competition. Going up against over 130 teams at the 514,000-foot 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,” said Becky Johnson. “At State, the team went up against 50 teams, and at Regionals the girls were representing their state of Colorado. Sharing the floor with girls representing Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Our girls left it all on the floor,” continued Johnson.
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, 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.
“Coming home from Regionals the joy, smiles, and stories the girls had to share couldn’t be contained, nor would I have wanted them to be. 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,” said Johnson.
Where it all comes together
“Something I always reflect on are the girls’ experiences and ambition. You can see that they have goals and dreams that they want to achieve. Make no mistake, we carry out a balanced program between fun and dedication to academics, but our girls are here to push their boundaries competitively,” shared Johnson. “Some of the most important factors in this program for us have been retention and skills progression, something we’ve seen explode in the last few years. The girls can always count on top notch equipment, coaches, and a genuine camaraderie that exists between the younger girls and the older Ascent girls, — including some who coach. They push and inspire one another; I hope the girls continue to give back to each other and help drive the program for many years to come,” concluded Johnson.
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. 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,” said Maray Lindley, Ascent Gymnast.
To learn more about Ascent Gymnastics, click HERE.