Confidence booster: Daugherty uses success as motivation to get better

Jaedyn Daugherty has been coached to always have confidence entering a gymnastics meet.

There was something about last week’s Judges Cup meet in Denver that felt special.

“I thought I was going to have a good day,” the 10-year-old Pomona Elementary School student said.

That was an understatement.

Competing in the Level 4 division for KidzPlex Gymnastics, Daugherty had a great day, taking first place overall in the meet that included more than 70 competitors.

It was a big step for Daugherty and her teammates. She had won her Level 4 age division at a meet in Montrose earlier in the season but had never won the overall title in the all-around. Doing it at a prestigious meet such as the Judges Cup made it even more special.

Her finish, and the second-place finish of her teammate, Katie Stobbe, helped the KidzPlex Level 4 squad win the team title over the vaunted 5280 Gymnastics team of Denver.

Proving she was not willing to rest on her laurels, Daugherty took third place in the all-around competition Saturday at her home meet, the Taylor Moore Invitational at KidzPlex.

That she finished third wasn’t totally unexpected. After all, said KidzPlex Level 4 coach Jessica Hawkins, “(The 10-year-old team) has lots of depth. We have multiple girls that could win.”

On Saturday, it was Violet Bambino, who won the vault on the way to taking the all-around title with 37.6 points.

Another KidzPlex gymnast, Charlotte Svaldi, took second all-around with Stobbe finishing fifth.

The Level 4 team had strong finishes in four age divisions in Saturday’s meet, which drew 150 competitors from seven teams in Level 4 and Level 5.

In the Level 4 7-year-old division, Kynlee Renfro won the all-around with KidzPlex teammate Miya Spurger taking second and Madison Mascarenas placing fourth.

Jocelyn Stafford was first, Brooke Laffler second and Abrey Thornburg fourth all-around in the 8-year-old division. Cassidy Pratt and Melissa Elias finished one-two for the 9-year-olds.

Daugherty came down with the flu early in the week but her overall title in Denver made her determined to practice.

“I wanted to work hard,” she said, the title giving her motivation to improve.

Her best event, by her account, is the bars.; the vault seems to give her the biggest challenge. That’s why Hawkins and Daugherty have spent much of their practice time working on the latter.

Daugherty doesn’t want to be good on just the bars. She wants to be an all-around gymnast.

“Jaedyn walks in the door every day to work hard,” Hawkins said. “There’s no complaining about the extra conditioning or the 100 vaults we do.”

That’s because Daugherty has the long term in her sights.

“I try to work as hard as I can every day so when I get to the state meet (in mid-December) I’ll be at my best,” she said.

While she and her Level 4 teammates were near their peak on Saturday, so was the KidzPlex Level 5 team, which also won the title.

Makena Church (10-year-olds) and Emily Werman (11-year-olds) won the individual all-around titles in their respective age divisions.


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