Seymour gymnasts gear up for nationals in Orlando


The National Gymnastics Association is hosting its Gymnastics Nationals at the convention center in Orlando starting today through Sunday, and there will be five members from the Gymnastics Lane club team in Seymour participating in it.

Coach Angie Villarreal and her staff will be taking Piper Hawkins, Mia Dailey, Emma Lucas, Aubree Fiscus and Kinley Beard to the Sunshine State as those five will be getting their first taste of nationals competition.

“I’m excited,” Dailey said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Hawkins used the word nervous, which comes with the territory, but all five are looking forward to this experience.

“I’m excited,” Beard said.

To qualify for nationals, you had to finish with an all-around score of at least 32 at the state competition, which was held in Fort Wayne in April.

The five also got to compete at regionals in May.

For Hawkins, who will be a senior at Seymour High School this fall, she decided to come back to club gymnastics after a three-year hiatus.

“It’s completely different,” Hawkins said. “I haven’t done club in about three years, and coming back to club from high school is completely different. I’ve had to change everything. It has been a journey.”

She said the judging is different, and she completely changed up her floor routine for club season.

Dailey said floor is her favorite event because she likes the tumbling and dancing aspect of it, and Lucas and Beard both agreed that floor is their favorite as well for similar reasons.

Fiscus, on the other hand, enjoys vault.

“I like vault because I have a lot of power,” she said.

This is Fiscus’ first year doing gymnastics. Hawkins has been doing it since she was 8 years old, Dailey and Lucas have both been doing it for about six years and Beard has been doing it since the age of 2.

“I love it. It’s fun,” Fiscus said. “Ever since I was little, I wanted to do gymnastics.”

“I asked my mom about it, and she told me that I convinced her to sign up for classes,” Lucas said.

They all practice at Gymnastics Lane along with a number of other gymnasts from all sorts of ages.

Hawkins is the oldest heading into her senior year, Dailey will be a freshman at SHS this fall, Lucas is going into eighth grade and Fiscus is going into sixth grade, while Beard is the youngest of the five heading to nationals.

“We all train together,” Hawkins said. “What we normally do is routine work, and then the last few minutes, we’ll do up-skills, which means whatever level you’re at, that’s what you do. Me and Mia are at the same skills, Emma is right behind us and so on.”

Prior to competing, Hawkins said she likes to listen to music to calm her down, while the others like to go over their routines in their head.

“I like to think through the routines in my head and all the difficult parts,” Dailey said.

They all have small things they want to fix before heading into nationals. For Hawkins, she wants to improve her vault. Dailey said she wants to work on her beam for her back walk-over, and Fiscus said she wants to work on her beam and floor routines.

“I think just like cleaning up all my routines and making it pretty,” Lucas said.

Fiscus and Beard will be competing on today at the same time, and Lucas will be competing later in the day. Dailey will be on Friday, and Hawkins will be on Saturday.

Top finishers at nationals will have a chance to win money or get the opportunity to work with NCAA Division I college coaches at a camp.

In addition to competing, the gymnasts are all excited to hang out with one another, go swimming, and as long as it’s after competing, said Villarreal, hit the amusement parks in Orlando.

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