Hawaii gymnasts soar at national competition
By: Jolanie Martinez, News Intern
HONOLULU, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Seven gymnasts put Hawaii on the map this weekend, competing in the USA Gymnastics Trampoline and Tumbling National Championships in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
All seven athletes represent the Hawaii Trampoline and Tumbling Club and train at Hawaii Academy.
15-year-old Kayttie Nakamura of Kaimuki and 14-year-old Maia Amano of Manoa won gold in the junior elite synchronized trampoline event. Nakamura and Amano had the highest score of all elite women in the U.S. at 125.800.
Nakamura also brought home a gold medal in the double mini-trampoline event scoring at 137.700 and was awarded a spot to next year's senior national team, where she will compete in the 17+ division nationally and compete internationally against those below the age of 17.
Dr. Max Vercruyssen, President of Hawaii Academy, explained to Hawaii News Now the importance of Nakamura's placement on the senior national team.
"Now, in particular, it's very, very rare for the U.S. national coaches to select a junior to the senior national team."
Other medalists include 15-year-old Sydney Senter, an Aiea resident who won the silver medal in the junior elite women's synchronized trampoline event with partner Alyssa Oh, from California. They also won bronze in the individual trampoline event and 4th place in the double mini-trampoline event.
Like Nakamura, Senter was named to the Junior National Teams for both Trampoline and Double Mini-Trampoline. The young elites will be heading to Sophia, Bulgaria in November to compete at the World Age Group Competitions.
Representing Hawaii in the senior men's individual trampoline event was 27-year-old Shane Doi of Kaneohe, who placed 10th.
This isn't a wrap for the elites as Senter and Amano will be headed to the Slavic Games in Minsk, Belarus next month. All four of the Hawaii elites are also keeping their hopes up in getting an invitational spot to compete in the All Japan Elite National Championships in October.
Other outstanding gymnasts include 13-year-old Lana Shimabukuro who placed 8th in the Level 8 double mini-trampoline competition and 15th in the Level 8 individual trampoline event.
The youngest ones out of the bunch competing at 12-years-old, Samantha Miyashiro of Aina Haina who placed 11th in the Level 8 double mini-trampoline and 46th in the Level 8 individual trampoline event. Nikki Apa from Papakolea placed 53rd in the Level 8 double mini-trampoline and 59th in the Level 8 individual trampoline event. Finally, Knytly Sybounmy of Manoa placed 41st in the Level 8 double mini-trampoline competition.
Dr. Vercruyssen believes that the gymnasts' performed their personal best and exceptionally well at the national level.
"Hawaii gymnasts have continued to perform well at the national and the world level and when people ask us what it is in Hawaii that makes so many champions we tell them we have very very good water."
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