By Rachel Dove
WILLIAMSON - It is their passion, it’s what they love doing and what they dream of taking to higher levels. It is the driving force that keeps them practicing hour after hour, trying to perfect their routines and performances. For three young Tug Valley area residents, gymnastics is truly their No. 1 priority.
For Hannah Scales, 8; MicKah Steele, 9, and McKenna Hatfield, 6, who all attend Southside Elementary, gymnastics is a way of life. Although all three girls participate in, or have participated in the past in other sports and extracurricular activities, the world of gymnastics is their big passion and that dedication and commitment has certainly paid off for these young ladies.
The young gymnasts began their training with Coach Bruce Wasserman in Williamson, and credit him for inspiring their budding careers. All three are now members of the American Trampoline Tumbling Academy in Allen, Ky., under the direction of trainer Henry Young. They compete in rod floor tumbling, double-mini trampoline and trampoline, and have won several meets and competitions. Scales and Hatfield said their favorite field of competition is the floor exercises, while Steele favors the double-mini.
The girls have participated in competitions that were held in Somerset, Lexington and Morehead, Ky., as well as Cincinnati, Ohio. They will travel to Danville, Ky., to compete Saturday, and will be entering the Kentucky State Meet in Somerset on April 26, as well as a national competition on June 17 that is slated for Louisville, Ky.
Needless to say, the gymnasts all agreed that Olympic Medalist Abby Douglas is their hero, speaking of how she overcame numerous obstacles to reach her goals. The young ladies have aspirations to one day represent the United States in the Olympics, and say they understand that they will have to continue to work hard, practice countless hours and devote all their spare time to the sport of gymnastics if they want to see their dreams become reality.
“We practice a lot and we travel a lot to go to all the competitions, but it’s worth it,” said Scales, as she sat beside her mother, Angie Gregory, who also commented on the need for commitment from parents who have children involved in sports or extracurricular activities that are very demanding in nature.
“When I see her perform and see the smile on her face when they’re placing the medals around her neck, it makes it all worthwhile,” Gregory said. “As long as she wants to pursue this dream, her family will always be right here cheering her on and making sure she has the chance to excel as far as she can go.”
The other parents in attendance agreed with Gregory, and described how very proud they are of these three young ladies who awe the crowds with their gymnastic skills.