Up, up and away
Jenna Jeffrey had a little trouble putting into words just how much she enjoys her favorite sport – trampolining. “It’s fun,” is about all the Union Hill School third grader got out before her cheeks blushed and tiny right foot made circles on the floor.
That’s when Jenna’s mother, Jill Jeffrey, came to the rescue.
“She lives for the trampoline. I can’t keep her out of the gym,” she said.
While the eight-year old may be a tad shy off the apparatus, a quick glance at her sporting resumé proves she’s anything but, when it’s time to compete.
Jeffrey, who is a two-time defending national champion in both trampolining and its hybrid form, the double-mini trampoline, was named to USA Gymnastics Trampoline & Tumbling Program’s JumpStart National Team for the second-straight year in December.
She’s one of five trampolinists between the ages of 7-12 from the state of California, and one of four from her previous academy – Gymnastics Team USA in Rancho Santa Margarita – to make the cut out of the 500-or-so deep pool of competitors nationwide.
Jeffrey, who moved to the area with her family in December, now plies her trade at Grass Valley’s Rising Starz Gymnastics Academy.
“We’re excited to have her. Not only to help her out, but to expand our program,” RSGA women’s team head coach Doug Miller said. “We’ve always used the trampoline as a part of our training. It helps in air and body awareness. It helps gymnasts feel more comfortable at greater heights, plus it gives them a soft place to land.”
Jeffrey got started in the sport at three and a half years old.
“She was always doing somersaults in the living room so I decided to get her started in gymnastics,” Jill Jeffrey said. “We went to local gym and it had classes in gymnastics and trampoline, so I signed her up.”
THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
Trampolining may not be as famous as other forms of gymnastics, yet anyone who has seen the sport up close and personal can attest to its mix of grace and power.
The highest-level trampolinists can be catapulted as high as a three-story building, while pulling off combinations of twists and somersaults.
Aside from the more familiar form, trampolining has also sprouted a trio of hybrids:
n The Double Mini – This form combines the horizontal run, not unlike those used in both the vault and floor exercise, with a small two-level trampoline.
After a short run, the athlete uses the apparatus to perform a rebounding trick immediately followed by any of number of traditional dismounts onto a mat.
n Synchronized Trampoline – This discipline requires a pair of athletes to perform identical 10-skill routines in perfect symmetry.
n Power Tumbling – This sport is performed on elevated, spring reinforced runways which allow athletes to perform myriad flips and twists while soaring up to 10 feet in the air.
While the thought of rocketing one’s body through the air with no more than a leotard by way of protection may give most folks cause for concern, Jeffrey’s love for the sport helps her deal with the jitters.
“I just tell myself not to be scared and just do my best,” she said.
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EL DORADO — Nevada Union’s up and down season continued Friday night as the Miners struggled mightily in a 41-7 loss to the Union Mine Diamondbacks.