By Danelle Pecht
The National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs’ National Championships were held in Fort Worth, TX from April 12th – 14th. For those who don’t know, the NAIGC is the national governing body for collegiate club gymnastics in the US, and it also allows adults of any age to compete through the alumni team or affiliated community clubs. I returned to training about two years ago, and when I found out about NAIGC I had to give it a try. After competing in some locally organized Texas Gymnastics Conference meets throughout the spring, I was excited about the trip to Fort Worth and confident that I would have a great meet.
The competition began on Thursday, April 12th, with preliminary sessions of all levels running throughout the day on Thursday and Friday, and finals of WAG L8/L9 and MAG Open and Collegiate divisions on Saturday. I arrived on Thursday night for the open practice before my session of competition on Friday morning. The competition floor was wonderfully outfitted, with three full sets of women’s equipment and a men’s gym all provided by Spieth. There was also an interesting display of gymnastics history and antique equipment furnished by a local Sokol organization. I met up with some friends I knew from the TGC meets, as well as some other alumni competitors from across the country, and got to work.
The next morning dawned very early, with warmups for my session scheduled to begin at 8 AM! The level 6 alumni were all grouped together in one rotation of this session, and we cheered each other on throughout the meet. Several of us (myself included) scored personal bests on one or more events, and we all had fun. An unfortunate minor injury in warmups on vault left us short one counting score on that event, but the alumni team still managed to place 5th of the 16 teams competing level 6, with a score of 94.7. Alumni team member Christine Mildenberger took home individual medals on the vault and floor exercise as well.
The big story of the weekend for the alumni was the WAG level 9 team. They won both their prelim session and the team final, beating reigning champions Texas A&M for the national team title with a score of 112.95. Alumni also featured heavily among the individual medalists, with Haley Poinsette and Molly Stuckey both taking home two individual medals apiece and Justin Powers, Allison Tran and Madison Haran each medaling on one event.
The Decathlon medalists were all post-collegiate adult gymnasts – Julia Sharpe of Cambridge Community Gymnastics/MIT alongside Justin Powers and Mason Marek of the alumni. There were a total of 8 CCG and Alumni competitors in the Decathlon, out of 13 total gymnasts who attempted all ten events.
The Open Division MAG Alumni Team placed 2nd overall with a score of 217.3. Alumni team member William Suta took home three individual medals, with Mason Marek and Brian Hulbert claiming one apiece as well. Cambridge Community Gymnastics club member Ben Rudolph also won two individual medals.
The WAG level 8 Alumni Team placed 4th overall, with a score of 107.45.
The MAG Collegiate Division Alumni Team placed 5th overall, with a score of 218.55.
While there were not enough alumni competitors in the Men’s Developmental level to form a full team, alumni club member Hiroyuki Yanagawa took home four individual medals, with Sydney Callahan also claiming one.
The meet was a fantastic weekend, with a lot of fun and some excellent gymnastics on display. I hope to see everyone in Daytona Beach for the 2019 NAIGC National Championship!
Decathlon medalist, champion WAG L9 team member, and all around Cool Guy Justin Powers competing on the balance beam
The world record handstand hold at NAIGC Nationals
Shots of all the winning teams, including the Alumni L9 team
Full results can be found at https://www.naigc.net/nationals.php
The NAIGC holds competitions at USAG JO WAG levels 6, 8 and 9, MAG developmental, open, and collegiate divisions, and T&T New Flyers and High Flyers. Everyone is allowed to compete in all divisions, regardless of gender, and at Nationals there is also a Decathlon, where competitors perform routines on all ten artistic events. You do not need to be a former collegiate club competitor to join the alumni division, and with meets held all over the country, NAIGC is one of the easiest ways for adult gymnasts to start competing or return to competition! If you are interested in competing in an NAIGC meet, you can find more information at http://www.naigc.net
The Texas Gymnastics Conference, which hosted this year’s NAIGC Nationals, is an organization of collegiate gymnastics clubs in Texas and surrounding states which has been active since the 1970s. It sanctions several invitational meets each spring under NAIGC artistic rules, meaning that its member clubs have a full season of competitions prior to the National Championship. Like NAIGC, it also has an alumni division. If you live in Texas, Louisiana or Oklahoma and are interested in competing in a TGC meet, you can find more information at http://tgcgymnastics.com