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Glenwood Springs girl seeking the perfect ten

Phil Sandoval
Grand Junction Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Phil Sandoval Grand Junction Free PressDelaney Gaddis performs a handstand on the balance beam during a recent practice at the Kidzplex Grand Junction complex. The Glenwood Springs Middle School student has won two Level 6 all-around competitions in meets involving the Kidzplex team this season.
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado ” Standing at less than 5 feet tall, Delaney Gaddis might be small in appearance. Yet, she’s growing larger every time the Glenwood Springs Middle Schooler steps on the gymnastics mat.

Advancing to Level 6 this competitive season after finishing last year as the Colorado, Level 5 all-around runner-up, Gaddis has displayed the ability to keep up with the state’s best at that plateau.

In the first two meets of the regular season, Gaddis, 12, has won both Level 6 all-around competitions.



Along with her parents racking up miles on the family car’s odometer.

While the majority of her training is done at Kidzplex’s Glenwood Springs facility, Gaddis makes frequent trips to Grand Junction to participate in specialty clinics held at the Kidzplex main facility near the Mesa Mall.



“It’s fun,” Gaddis said of the bond she’s formed with her Grand Junction based teammates.

“The first time was kind of awkward because I didn’t know anybody. And I’m not really used to a big gym or a lot of other people to train with. But as I went along it was just fine.”

In the two years Gaddis has been involved the Kidzplex program her development as a gymnast has been rapid.

“She started at intermediate class then went to advanced right away,” said Gaddis’ primary coach, Heidi McCallum, who manages Kidzplex’s Glenwood facility. “It was pretty soon right after she started. We saw a spark. (Delaney) had a lot of talent before she came to Kidzplex and she’s just continued to improve.”

Gaddis’ improvement in the sport comes from her family.

“My siblings have done so well in sports. I want to get up to that level,” she said. “I don’t want to be the young one that can’t do as much as the older ones. I want to do as well as the rest of my family. My sisters and brothers are real athletic, I kind of look up to them and want to be like them.”

Gaddis said thoughts of her older brother, Barrett Jensen, spurred her toward success in Kidzplex’s last team meet.

“I wanted to make my family proud because my brother just went off to the Marines,” she explained. “I just felt that I needed to do something for him. I remember the first time on bars, I said: ‘Heidi, I’m going to get a 9.0.'”

Although she missed that goal by half a point, Gaddis’ 8.575 mark was the best of the competition.

That was only the start.

Gaddis also received the top mark in the balance beam. Those scores, combined with a second-place finish on the floor and a 9.1 in the vault, were enough for her to win the division’s all-around championship.

While the competitive season has just begun, Gaddis has her sights trained on the state meet.

“I want to do very well at state. Last year I did fine, but I want to do better,” she said.

McCallum said Gaddis understated her ability.

“When she said she did pretty good ” no, she did phenomenally well,” the coach said.

And, due to the drive Gaddis has to improve, McCallum anticipates a good showing at the state meet.

“Her work ethic is unmatched by any kid I’ve ever coached. If I tell her to do something once, she’ll do it 10 times. If I tell her to do it 10 times, she’ll do it 74 times,” she said.


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