Making a statement: Level 4 state title in all-around a thrill for KidzPlex’s Peyton Ray

Peyton Ray works on her balance beam routine recently at KidzPlex. The 9-year-old Ray won the Level 4 all-around state title last weekend in Denver. Her balance beam routine scored her a 9.15, good enough for fourth.

Peyton Ray’s hard work paid off.

The 9-year-old gymnast at KidzPlex won the Level 4 state all-around title Dec. 11 at the USAG Level 4 State Championships at the University of Denver.

Ray finished first in the all-around with a score of 37.75 and was second on uneven bars with a 9.725, fourth on balance beam with a 9.15 and sixth on vault with a 9.6.

“She got her highest scores for the whole season,” said Ray’s coach, Elly Schaneman. “She hadn’t been getting the scores she deserved all season, but she finally got what she deserved.”

Katelynn Schwerdtfeger of Colorado West Gymnastics won the Level 4 state title on uneven bars.

Ray began training and practicing in January, and competed in five meets during the fall. She had to qualify for state with an all-around score of at least 34, which she did the first meet of the year in Montrose on Sept. 18.

After the regular season ended, Ray had three weeks to prepare for state.

“We want them to peak at state and she definitely did,” Schaneman said. “Her work ethic paid off, she’s never slacking, and she’s always working hard.”

Ray turned in a solid all-around performance at the state meet, but didn’t place in her floor exercise.

Schaneman said they figured Ray placing in three of four events would put her near the top, but they didn’t expect the first-place overall finish.

“We were thinking second or third,” Schaneman said. “But when she got first it was awesome. Everyone was in tears.”

Even Ray didn’t think she’d finish at the top.

“I was surprised, my mom started to cry,” Ray said. “It feels really good.”

Ray will continue to progress in gymnastics and moves up to Level 5 beginning in January.

“She’s right on track,” Schaneman said. “We are excited and she’s doing great.”

Ray is ready for the jump and plans to keep her goals the same as they’ve always been.

“My goal is to keep working hard to get all the skills I need to,” Ray said.


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