The Gold Country Gymnastics girls team impressed in the United States Association of Gymnastic Clubs 2014 World Championships earlier this month, competing against more than 1,400 gymnasts from five different countries.
The seven-athlete squad, coached by Kara Bennett, spent two days competing in floor routines, the vault, the beam, and the bars. All-around competitions were held the first day, with the best from each event selected to move on to the finals. The team faced entrants from the United Kingdom, Bermuda, South Africa, Canada, and the United States.
“I thought it was cool that we could compete with other countries and (see) all the national anthems,” said Peyton White, who took home a world championship in the finals of the vault.
In all, the girls had excellent performances during both days. On day one, Alissa Vandra finished third in the beam and second in floor exercises to place fifth all-around, while Sara McCormack and Kylie Lamb placed 11th and ninth all-around, respectively.
Lilly Pruett was the all-around world champion after placing first in the vault, bars, and floor, which she translated into a floor world championship in finals competition. Natalia Vinces used a third-place finish in the bars event to qualify for and win a world championship in the competition, and Alexa Arbaugh followed suit with another world championship for the team, this time in the beam event. The finishes gave the group a world championship in each category.
“Our kids did very well. They did an amazing job. The competition was really hard this year, really tough,” Bennett said of the group’s performance.
Looking toward the future, when the team will return to the World Championships a year older and a level higher, she says she couldn’t hope for a better performance from them.
“We have a good group of (coaches) and most of these girls will all move up on the levels next year,” said Bennett. “So it will be harder for them to be placing as well. But they are doing the necessary amount of work in the next year.”
For the girls, many of whom have been in gymnastics for most of their lives, the results were the culmination of all the labor they’ve put in.
“I felt like all our hard work paid off,” Pruett said. “We’ve worked so hard for so long.”
Spencer Kellar is an intern with The Union. He can be reached at NCPCInternC@theunion.com.