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Laguna Student Makes National Trampoline, Tumbling Teams

Third-grader Daniel Newton will train with the JumpStart program in Alabama

Daniel Newton, 9, a third-grader at Laguna Blanca School, has made this year’s JumpStart National Team in both the trampoline and tumbling events and earned the right to train at the JumpStart National Team Training Camp in Huntsville, Ala., in March.

Newton is from the Santa Barbara Gymnastics Club in Santa Barbara and trains six to eight hours per week. He is coached by Susan Montgomery.

“Daniel is very focused, and I think it’s great that he is being recognized as one of the top trampolinists/tumblers for his age group in the country,” Montgomery said. “He hasn’t competed as much as some of these other kids have at the national level, but he’s won nothing but gold and silver in every event he’s been in so far. We think he has great potential.”

USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States, conducts an annual talent opportunity program to identify young athletes who have the ability to excel in the sport of trampoline and tumbling. Through a series of strength, flexibility, fitness, speed and skills testing held in every state throughout the United States, USA Gymnastics identifies eight to 10 trampolinists/tumblers to make up the JumpStart National Team each year.

This year, 10 boys in the 7-12 age group were selected for the trampoline team, and eight boys in that age range were selected for the tumbling team. Newton was selected for each of those two teams.

Newton just returned from Broken Arrow, Okla., where he competed for a spot on the teams.

“It was a fun experience going to Oklahoma and meeting all the other kids,” he said. “One of them was competing with a cast on his left arm and was doing all of his routines with only his right arm — and he was fantastic!”

The JumpStart National Training program identifies future elite athletes at a young age and educates their coaches on proper fitness and skill development. The fitness program is designed for all trampoline and tumbling athletes.

JumpStart testing took place throughout the summer and fall. Many trampoline and tumbling athletes from each of the 50 states participated at the regional level. Some of the states, such as California, split into two regions representing Southern California and Northern California. Scores from each of the states were then tabulated and compared and 19 boys from around the country were invited to the JumpStart national testing.

National testing was held in Broken Arrow on Feb. 20-21 where 10 gymnasts in three age groups (7-8, 9-10 and 11-12) were selected as members of the 2010 JumpStart National Team for trampoline, and 8 gymnasts in the same age range were selected as members of the 2010 JumpStart National Team for tumbling.

At national testing, the athletes performed strength and flexibility tests, general fitness tests and skills for speed, as well as required skills and compulsory routines on the trampoline and on the floor. The scores were then tallied to form the 2010 JumpStart teams.

— Tara Broucqsault is the director of communications for Laguna Blanca School.

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