Young gymnasts show off skills at KidzPlex meet

It takes a certain athletic skill set to be able to be a gymnast.

Saturday at KidzPlex, nearly 200 of those athletes displayed the timing, coordination and fearlessness it takes during the sixth annual Taylor Moore Invitational.

It is the 20th year for the meet in Grand Junction, but six years ago the meet was changed to honor Moore, one of KidzPlex’s top gymnasts who died in a boating accident in Lake Powell. Moore won the competition seven years ago when it was called the Grand Junction Gymnastics Invitational.
Levels 4, 5 and 6 gymnasts competed Saturday.

The top level of gymnasts is 10, and Saturday’s competitors have been in gymnastics for at least four years. Saturday’s competitors were performing national mandated routines.

“They are looking to show proficiency in every skill in each event,” KidzPlex owner Brian Bensley said.

“We give good awards, it is good competition and it is a lot of fun.”

The four events the gymnasts perform are uneven bars, floor exercise, balance beam and vault. Four Front Range teams joined gymnasts from Grand Junction, Montrose, Vail and Aspen.

Most of the girls practice year-round when the gymnasts make it to Level 4. Reese Norton, 8,  is a Grand Junction gymnast and said the meets are when all the practice pays off.

“You prepare a lot for today,” Norton said. “But I like it because of all the different events and you get to do a lot of different stuff.”

Norton is at Level 4 and along with fellow gymnast Megan King, 9, had the chance to compete against eight teams from across the state. Both girls said their eventual goal is to make it to level 10 and possibly the Olympics.

“I want to get up to Level 10 and I want to go to the Olympics,” King said. “Whenever the Olympics are on, I watch and think, ‘how are they doing that?’

“I think of myself doing that and I’m like, ‘OK, that is impossible.’ ”

Norton chimed in on the Olympic gymnasts:

“My brother asks me if I can do that and I am like, ‘no!’ ”

The Moore Invitational is one of the final meets for the level 4, 5 and 6 gymnasts before the state meets in late November and early December.

The gymnasts use meets like Saturday’s to earn a good all-around score that will qualify them for state.

The KidzPlex Level 4 team placed second behind Montrose. The Level 5 team was also second, with
Littleton winning the title, and the Level 6 team finished fourth behind three Front Range teams.


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