Black Diamond dominates at state
For two days, 17 clubs and 220 talented junior athletes converged on the Basin Recreation Field House to vie for bragging rights as the top gymnastics club in the state.
It turns out that they could have saved themselves as a trip as the hosting Black Diamond Gymnastic Club dominated much of the competition, winning two team titles and multiple individual championships.
"They’ve been doing a great job and, this weekend, certainly reinforced that," said Black Diamond Gymnastics and Sports Center owner Katy Heddens.
The event featured compulsory competition between levels 4-6 and children ranging in age from 6 to16. Compulsory denotes having set routines and skills on each event vault, floor exercise, beam and uneven bars that every child must complete.
Black Diamond won the state championship in levels 4 and 5 and took second in level 6 to a Lindon-based club. Individually, 22 Black Diamond athletes were named state champions and every Black Diamond competitor finished in the top six in one or more events.
Despite their sweep of many of the events, Heddens said the team did not enter expecting to win.
"You just never know," Heddens said. "Our biggest emphasis is on going out there and doing what they are capable of, doing their best. They did an incredible job."
Among the nine year-olds in level 6, three athletes led the competition, winning first through third place in every event in the all-around. Jessie Gordon won the vault with a score of 9.5 and with Kenzie Woods and Samantha Tan tying right behind her. Woods won the uneven bars title with a 9.45, with Tan and Gordon tying again. Tan was named the balance beam champion with a winning 9.3 score and Woods and Gordon tied for second. Woods won the floor exercise championship and Tan took second place. Woods was named the all-around state champion for her division with a 36.35 total score. Tan finished second in the all-around, followed by Gordon in third.
In level 6, the 10-year-olds group, Rebecca Johnson was named the silver medallist on the balance beam. Among 12-year-olds in the same level, Black Diamond swept first through fourth place in vault and placed highly in all other events. Rachel Nash took first in vault with a 9.5, followed by Kendall Heddens with a 9.4, Samantha Offret with a 9.3 and Kendzie Bingham with a 9.1. On the uneven bars, Nash took second and Offret took third. Heddens took second and in both balance beam and floor exercise and finished third in the all-around. Nash took fourth on beam, third on floor and took fourth in the all-around.
"When you look at the number of kids competing, they did an extremely good job," Heddens said.
She was also pleased that they did well despite the added pressure of hosting the meet.
"It’s more of a challenge when you are hosting the event, because the coaches and the staff have to play host. It’s hard to focus on the athletes," Heddens said. "They were at a disadvantage and still rose to the occasion."
The state meet wraps up a season’s-worth of competition for the Black Diamond Club. They also compete in a spring season and host a regional event, the Winter Classic, in February for teams in the Intermountain West.
Heddens says the team travels throughout the state competing throughout the season so they are prepared for the pressure of the statewide event. This is second time the state championships have been held in Park City and Heddens said that there should be many more.
The Black Diamond Winter Classic regional meet will be held Feb. 23-25. Heddens is still looking for sponsorship. For more information about the club or sponsorship opportunities, contact Heddens at 640-2116 or visit http://www.blackdiamondgym.com.
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