Auburn Gymnastics team soars to new heights

Two boys qualify for Regional Championships
By: Special to the Journal
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Auburn Gymnastics Center boys’ teams are flying high after the 2013 State Championship meet in San Luis Obispo where two qualified to Regionals in April.

Six boys from 6 to 17 years of age competed at the State Championship meet, setting new records for the Auburn gym and hoping to ignite more interest in the sport locally.

Eleven-year-old Bryce Dunigan won the State Championship title on vault with a huge score of 10.1 and ended up placing fifth in the overall. He placed third in three events. On the floor he scored a 10.8, on rings he scored a 10.45 and on high bar he scored a 10.15. Dunigan’s all-around was 59.65.

On his heals was teammate Zeph Thomas, who went up against nearly 50 other 9-year-olds. He was in the top 10 on the parallel bars with a score of 9.65 and on the high bar with a score of 9.8. The level 5’s all-around score was 58.35, ranking him 13th in the enormous grouping.

On the level 4 team was Beck Thomas. On the floor he placed fourth with a 10.1, on rings he placed fifth with a 10.2, on vault he took third with a 9.2, on parallel bars he took fourth with a 9.9 and on high bar he took fourth with a 9.6. The level 4 Thomas scored a total of 57.6 and took fifth overall in the younger boys’ level 4 age grouping. Teammate Christopher Otis was in the top 10 on the rings with a 9.7 and tied with Thomas on the vault with a third-place win at a 9.2.

Level 5 Michael Kesler was in the top 10 on rings with a 9.65, on vault with a 8.85 and on p-bars with a 8.15, while level 4 Kohen Rugg finished out the season strong with a 8.6 on floor, 8.0 on pommel, 8.9 on rings, 8.7 on vault, 8.3 on parallel bars and a 7.1 on the high bar.

“I am thrilled with the success of these boys,” said Natalie Otis, coach of the boys teams. “Both Bryce (Dunigan) and Zeph (Thomas) qualified to Regional Championships. We are looking forward to great things from this team both at Regionals and in the next few years to come.”

The coach has been working to make gymnastics more relevant to boys in Auburn by incorporating some elements that boys love like using games to learn strength moves and by having more team-building days.

“We plan on being a strong team in boys’ gymnastics in Auburn and I look forward to our future with these guys and hopefully more of their friends, too,” Otis said.

The coach said she is going to attend two gymnastics training camps, one leading up to the Level 5 Regional meet in Reno, Nev., on April 7 and the other in May.

“This team is fun to be on and I am excited for our future,” Otis said. “What isn’t there to love about gymnastics?”

For more information on Auburn Gymnastics or class information, call 823-2031 or visit