More than just tumbling

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Fit Kids helping gymnasts in other ways, too

By Will Phillips
Enterprise correspondent


Despite the rain on Thursday night, the gymnastics team at Fit Kids in Lebanon was still practicing hard. As they tumbled and walked the balance beam, their parents sat behind a window in the other room and watched.
“[The coaches] actually care,” said Brad Cundiff, whose daughter Riley is in the program.
He added that they have definitely enjoyed it.
One sentiment that was expressed by all the parents in attendance was that being involved with the team had helped their child learn about hard work.
“They work hard,” Farah Mattingly said.
Mattingly’s daughter, Brooklyn was practicing in the other room. The team is very dedicated, according to Mattingly.
And they had better be.
The team is now competing in USA Gymnastics, instead of the AAU program they were a part of last season. The competition has gotten stiffer, but the team has remained resilient.
They recently competed in the Judges Cup in Lexington and received several awards. The Level 2 team placed 11th.
Numerous other individual competitors found success, too.
Bella Spalding scored a 9.05 on her vault, and placed third in her age group. Lainey Stewart wowed the judges all around, scoring a 9 on the bar, a 9.225 on the floor, a 9.2 on the vault, and an 8.6 on the beam to give her an impressive 36.025 overall.
“They’re doing amazing with the amount of time they’re in the gym,” said Richelle Smith, coach of the Levels 3, 4, and 5 gymnasts. “A lot of these other teams are coming in with double the time that they’re in [the gym].”
She also expressed happiness at coaching the team.
“I love working with this group of kids,” Smith said.
Her fellow coach, Andi Drees, echoed the sentiment.
“Gymnastics teaches them so much more than just gymnastics…They learn discipline, and self-esteem, and there’s just so much more to it than learning to tumble,“ Drees said.
She also noted that gymnasts are usually great students and great listeners.
Of course, that has to translate into results come competition time, and it has with this team.
All of the coaches praised their team’s consistency, and said that they look forward to more meets.
The entire team has already qualified for the Kentucky state gymnastics meet, only two competitions into the season.

Fit Kids roster
Level 1:
Keira Atkinson
Emma Edelen
Yukimi Goto
Allison Smith
Maci Higdon
Level 2:
Abigail Adams
Gracie Bradshaw
Rylie Cundiff
Ann Farris
Kaylee Reed
Morgan Schooling
Laynee Stewart
Maddie Wiser
Level 3:
Brooklyn Mattingly
Sarah O’Daniel
Bella Spalding
Shelby Stout
Skylar Wicher
Level 4:
Gabriella DeLagarza
Kalli Vaughn
Level 5:
Jenna Martinez
Level 7:
Melanie Drees