Kynlee Renfro making impact with KidzPlex after ankle injury

Nine-year-old Kynlee Renfro leads the KidzPlex gymnastics team onto the mat Saturday during the Taylor Moore Invitational. Renfro experienced pain in her left ankle that forced her into a protective boot from April until early September. Renfro is back competing with KidzPlex, finishing third in the all-around competition Saturday in the Level 5 Child A division.



Kynlee Renfro, left, loves being a part of the KidzPlex gymnastics team, but was unable to compete when her left foot was in an orthopedic boot.



At only 9 years old, Kynlee Renfro has plenty of experience in gymnastics.

She’s been involved in the sport since she was 3.

In late September, though, she wasn’t sure she’d even get a chance to start the new season for the KidzPlex gymnastics team.

After last season’s state meet in January, Renfro experienced pain in her left ankle that forced her into a protective boot from April until early September.

“I didn’t think that I would be able to compete,” Renfro said. “I wanted to just compete and have fun.”

But just more than a month into the season, she’s out of the boot and picking up right where she left off.

Saturday, Renfro took third place in the all-around competition in the Level 5 Child A division at the Taylor Moore Invitational, hosted by KidzPlex. She finished with 36.5 points, missing second place by one-tenth of a point and first place by two-tenths of a point.

The pain she had prior to the season was a result of what doctors first believed was a form of juvenile arthritis. Recent tests have come back negative for the disease, said Jamie Renfro, Kynlee’s mother.

The issues started in August of 2010 when she had serious pain in her right ankle.

She wore a protective booth for two months.

In January 2011, the pain started in her left ankle.

“After state in January, she started having pain and problems again and that’s when they started all the testing (for arthritis),” Jamie Renfro said.

In April, doctors put Kynlee’s left foot in an orthopedic boot. She spent the summer going to physical therapy, which she still attends, and regular doctor appointments to see whether the issue was arthritis-related.

“I did physical therapy and I did some exercises to help my ankle get better,” Kynlee said. “(I did it) because it would help get my ankle stronger and it would help me get back into competition.”

She still found time to make it to KidzPlex to do what she could to train.

“She came to gym every single day,” said her coach, Jessica Hawkins. “She could still do most of the dance skills, just not the tumbling.”

At a certain point though, Jamie was ready to have Kynlee give up the sport.

“There was one time where I thought (gymnastics) wasn’t going to be the answer,” Jamie said. “She actually was lacking a few skills and that was our out. We didn’t think she’d able to get where she needed to be.

“She came in the next day and (performed) the skills, so I didn’t have anything to use against her.”

As September neared, the news continued to get better.

“They got her to where her pain level was down and her blood work actually came back really good,” Jamie said.

The day before the team’s first meet in September, the Black Canyon Invitational in Montrose, she was cleared to compete and finished first in the vault with 9.2 points and second all- around with 36.2 points.

“She was technically released the day before the first meet, so we didn’t know if she was going to be able to compete, but she obviously kept up her strength to be able to be where she needed to be,” Jamie said.

Kynlee took third overall in the Aspen Invitational earlier this month.

At Saturday’s event, she had scores of 9.1 on the vault, 9.25 on the uneven parallel bars, 9.65 on balance beam and 9.5 on floor exercise.

Her third-place all-around finish was the best for KidzPlex in the age division at Level 5.

Peyton Herndon and Lauren Gryboski of the Colorado Springs-based Arials took first and second all-around, respectively.

Miya Spurger of KidzPlex took fifth all-around and tied for first place in the Child A division with a score of 9.55 in the beam.

In the Level 5 Child B division, Madison Mascarenas took fifth place all-around with 36.65 points.

In the Level 5 Junior A division, Annika Kitzman finished second with 36.45 points and Savannah Vargas took fourth with 36.15 points.

KidzPlex finished second in team points with 112.550, behind the Arials, who had 115.200.

As for Kynlee, there’s always a chance her leg problems could flare back up, Jamie said, but right now the pain is infrequent.

“We’ll just keep watching her and hoping that it stays that way,” Jamie said.


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