The girls wrapped up their competitive seasons a couple weeks ago—of the 13 weekends in the first three months of the year, ten of them were filled with gymnastics-related activities: moving gym equipment to prepare for the gym renovation, working at meets, competing at meets, traveling out of state for meets... oh, and squeezing in the weekend portions of the big gym photo shoot. We hardly knew what to do with ourselves these last two weekends now that things are back to normal (and by normal I mean 30 combined hours of practice time between the three of them, ha). Maddie and Gracie added two new states to their list of where they've competed (New Mexico and Oklahoma!) bringing their total to 8 and 9 respectively: Wyoming, Colorado, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, New Mexico, Oklahoma... and Mississippi for Gracie (Maddie had a field trip to Texas that weekend in 2013 and couldn't go to the meet). Not too shabby! They had six meets this season and Bridget had four. Here are some season highlights, by photo:
1. Bridget's first meet and first gymnastics medal
2. Grace winning third place at the Nadia Comeneci Invitational in Oklahoma City
3. Attending the Perfect 10 Challenge in Oklahoma City
College meets are super fun to watch, and now Maddie, Gracie and I have seen five top-25 teams: Oklahoma, University of Denver, George Washington, Alabama, and Auburn. If you ever have a chance to attend an NCAA meet, GO!
4. Teammates that are friends!
All three girls made what I predict will be lifelong friends this season; gymnastics is fun, but fun-ner with good friends to practice and compete with. These two are exactly one year and three days apart in age, though it looks like more!
5. Seeing your name and high score of the season on the big screen
6. Winning a meet after fighting back from injury!
Maddie's season started miserably—she missed the first meet with her sprained ankle, and then sustained a slightly less awful (but still awful) wrist sprain the week of the Nadia Comeneci Invitational; the fact that she was able to come back and win her age division at University of Denver was a big deal. Yay!
7. Sister Beam Sweep #1
Both Maddie and Gracie won first place on beam at University of Denver. Matt and I can hardly bear to watch beam, though he manages better than me. I think it must be as stressful as being the mom of a goalie in a shootout. But on this day... balance was achieved in spades!
8. Bridget's state championship beam routine
This photo was taken by the meet photographer, but I was just out of the frame trying not to throw up (see above). For a child who didn't walk until she was 17 months old and then proceeded to stumble with some regularity for the next couple of years, it is nothing short of amazing to me that she has come so far (especially on the four inch high beam!).
9. A silver medal and a personal best all-around score
At the state meet in Belen, Bridget earned her season personal best all-around score and the silver medal for her age division! It was a very happy day for her. Next up: learning how to do a roundoff back handspring so she can move up to Level 3.
10. Good omens
11. Mental toughness at just the right time
Maddie had a no-good rotten bars routine at the state championship meet in the first rotation, and it was painful to stand by and watch her run through what happened in her head. However, she somehow managed to shake it off by the second rotation (beam!) and completed a routine good enough to win a gold medal, her third state championship beam gold medal in three years. She won a silver medal on floor, bronze on vault, and earned fourth place in the all-around. Fighting back like that was impressive, and we hope it will be just as valuable a win to her as winning two previous state championships was.
12. Sister Beam Sweep #2
Gracie earned her personal best all-around at the New Mexico state championships, too—she worked very hard in extra practices to improve her bars leading up to the state meet, and she earned her highest score of the season. Bars have been her nemesis for a long time, but we're hoping her hard work will change her sometimes fatalistic outlook there. She earned a bronze medal in the all-around and a gold medal on beam (a repeat achievement for her at state!) and the second sister beam sweep of the season!
13. Competing with Emily
It's a long story, but one of Maddie's and Gracie's teammates from Wyoming lives in New Mexico now, too, and competes for a different gym; it was absolutely wonderful to see her a few times this season. Gracie and Emily have a long and storied friendship laced with a little rivalry, but at the state meet they BOTH earned a gold medal on beam because they fell into different age divisions. Air Force kids don't often have history like this, and it was awfully moving to snap a picture of them together after the meet. Next up: giants and a beam skill series in preparation for Level 7!
And that's that: an assuredly incomplete list of highlights from a very memorable season. Oh, the crow I have to eat, yet again.