More than 30 local gymnasts, boys and girls, demonstrated their skill, strength and grace for a large audience of family, friends and spectators at Motions Unlimited’s annual Holiday Extravaganza on Dec. 3. The girls competed in four events – floor, beam, bars and vault and the boys competed in six events – floor, vault, parallel bars, pommel horse, high bar and rings.

A group of eight girls are new to the Compulsory team in 2016, completing USA Gymnastics/AAU Level 2 routines for the first time. In the Compulsory program, all gymnasts must complete the same set of skills in a set routine that progresses in difficulty from Level 1 to 5 with the objective of building a strong foundation before progressing to Optional levels 6 through 10, according to a press release.

Leila Kirkconnell, Naomi Tibbetts, Tianna Ebanks, Madison Ameline, Harper Nelson, Sienna Santiago, Siena Clemens and Charli Foster, led by coach Alison Laidler, will comprise the Motions Level 2 team for the upcoming season.

Laidler said in the press release that she was very pleased with how the girls performed and the support they showed for each other throughout the competition.

Motions introduced a new Xcel program in 2016. The USA Gymnastics Coach Kenzie Brown is working with eight new girls who have joined the Xcel team, which develops routines individually choreographed to suit their strengths and personality. This team includes Gabrielle Robinson, Scarlett Akiwumi, Ava Hickey, Flynne Lunt, Ashley Shillingford, Janey Villeaux, Kayla Parsons and Sofia Hanson.

Brown said, “There is a renewed excitement about gymnastics after every Olympic Games and it is great that we have so many new girls joining the team and new programs that can be tailored to the strengths of the kids involved.”

Eight members of the Motions team who competed at Level 2 at the Gasparilla Classic and the Caribbean Championships last season have returned with upgraded skills and routines. Laila Cassidy, Bethany Hawkins, Arielle Farley, Talia Collett, Tai Wammer, Natalie Bodden, Mia VanDevelde and Morgan Crowley all competed Level 3 for the first time at the Holiday Extravaganza.

Tyler Woolaver, Gabriella Royston, Emmi Daykin, Jaiden Gilbert, Sarah Bush, Maddalena Polloni and Meaghan Fowler already have participated in one overseas competition this season and presented polished routines for the local audience.

Sami Peene and Raegan Rutty, who competed at the Junior Pan American and Commonwealth Championships this year, also demonstrated their routines, with some skill upgrades that they have been working on.

The boys team, Igor Magalhaes, Karthik Adapa and Kaleb Woolaver, under the guidance of coach Doran Zimmerman, impressed the crowd. The boys team will have the opportunity to challenge some of the best boys in the U.S. at the West Point Invitational in January.

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