Ash cleans up at state meet

Joelle MilholmGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kara K. Pearson

DENVER – Competing in her first state gymnastics meet, 11-year-old Hunter Ash was nervous. Going against the best in Colorado at the level four competition with less than a year of competitive gymnastics experience under her belt was no small feat.

Ash was able to overcome the nervousness, however, winning the state beam title, taking third in vault, tying for third on the floor, tying for seventh in bars and taking second overall in the 11-year-old division over the weekend at the University of Denver.”It was kinda scary, but I knew I would do really well because I kinda just trusted God and He helped me,” Ash said.

Ash, who started competitive gymnastics in February after taking beginning classes in Basalt previously, scored a 9.55 on the beam for the championship, a 9.525 on the floor, a 9.35 on bars and a 9.225 on the vault for an all-around score of 37.65. Her coach was ecstatic.”Last week I said Delayne (Gaddis, who took second at the level five state meet), scored the highest all-around score I had seen as a coach with a 37.6 and then Hunter gets a 37.65,” said Glenwood KidzPlex coach Heidi McCollum. “One week after the other, the highest scores I have ever seen.”Ash’s success glistened with the five medals she was awarded (as all top-15 finishers get medals), but also in her proud smile on Thursday at KidzPlex in Glenwood. McCollum’s grin reflected the same pride.”She was awesome,” McCollum said.

Ash was one of six Glenwood KidzPlex gymnasts to participate in the level four meet, including her 7-year-old sister Morgan. In the 6- to 7-year-old division, 7-year-old Morgan notched her highest all-around score of the year at 34.975. Morgan, who also started competitive gymnastics in February, finished 30th out of 51 gymnasts and took home a medal for 15th in the bars with a score of 9.05. In the 8-year-old division, Glenwood’s Brooke Bruder also recorded her highest all-around score of the year with a 36.075 at state. The finish put her at 33rd overall out of 79 gymnasts. She tied for 15th on the vault to get a medal. Brooke’s 11-year-old sister Brittany gathered an all-around score of 36 to take 12th place in the 11-year-old division. Brittany’s best events were bars, where she took fourth with a 9.4, and vault, where a 9.05 was good enough for 14th place.Nine-year-old Charlie Mechling also worked to her best all-around score of the year with a 34.525 to place 76th out of 91 gymnasts. Mechling’s top performance came on the bars, where she nailed a personal-best 9.3Rounding out the Glenwood KidzPlex state performers was 10-year-old Morley Perrin, who took 39th out of 73 athletes with an all-around score of 35.873. Perrin’s all-around score was helped by a 13th-place finish on the beam as she scored a 9.2

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