Sunday, March 27, 2011

Boys State Gymnastics Meet

Last summer Conner was asked by his gymnastics coaches if he would like to compete for gymnastics. He would be a Level 4. This would mean that he would travel throughout the state competing in gymnastics. It was a one year commitment. The gymnastics season starts in January. His first meet was here in Rexburg. In February, we traveled to Boise to watch him compete at Gem State. Last weekend was the culmination of the whole season.

I felt like we and Conner had done all that was possible to get ready for the state competition. Conner put in some extra time in the gym working on getting ready. We paid for three private lessons, in order to help him better prepare. Conner has six elements he competes on: the high bar, the rings, the parallel bars, the floor, the mushroom and pommel horse, and the vault. He is pretty strong on all of the events except the pommel horse/mushroom. This is really two different apparatus but it is scored as one. Conner does really well on the pommel horse but struggles with the mushroom. The mushroom literally is just that: a round apparatus that is about two feet high.
The goal of Level 4 is to spin around the top of the mushroom three and a half turns without touching down. This is a very difficult task to master. The reason for learning this skill is so that they can prepare to do actual turns on the pommel horse. Most of the Level 4 boys will do one turn touch down, one turn touch down, one turn touch down and then a half a turn. There is a full point deduction every time they touch down. When Conner was doing his private lessons, I talked to the coach about spending most of the time working on fine tuning his other routines and just leaving the mushroom alone. The coach explained it that most of these boys skill wise are all about the same. They will usually only win an event by the smallest margin. The place where they can really pick up points is on the mushroom doing their three and a half turns. He really worked Conner on the mushroom. We even brought the mushroom home one night for Conner to practice on. Conner even took the mushroom to school one day to practice on during recesses. It wasn't very often that Conner could do more than one turn without touching down. When he did, it wasn't pretty. He would really struggle after his first turn to not touch down. We left for Coeur D'Alene knowing we had done all we could do.

Conner's competition was set for Saturday, March 19 at 8:00 a.m. The gym they competed at was a newer gym. However, their equipment wasn't new and was actually pretty rickety and wobbly.

Before I go into his individual scoring, let me just say that the total possible on any apparatus is 16.0.

Conner's first rotation was the rings. He scored at 14.4. This was a pretty good score for him. His second rotation was the floor. The floor tends to be one of his strongest. I don't know what happened, but Conner started off in the middle of his routine and his coach had to call him back to start over. He then tipped over on what is called a "candlestick". It is a very easy element. He ended up with a score of 13.2. The next rotation was the mushroom and pommel horse. I wanted to hold my breath.

He did the most beautiful mushroom routine that he has done all season! He went around beautifully twice without stopping. Then he went on and did his one and a half times around. It was beautiful! He pulled off the second highest score on the team and his personal high on this apparatus with a score of 12.1. Their next rotation was the high bar. Conner did a beautiful but ended up sitting down on the landing. His score on the high bar was 13.7. It was then time to vault. He scored a 15.2 on the vault! I would have to look but I also think that is a season high for him. The final rotation was the parallel bars. He did a nice job on those and scored a 13.8.

Conner ended up placing third in the state overall. His team also took first place in the team division.

We are so proud of you, Conner!

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