Eight athletes earned state titles for iTumble & Bounce at the 2022 Kentucky State Championships on April 30, and now the Owensboro-based tumbling and gymnastics group is focused on putting together a similar outing on the national stage.
In addition to their first-place finishers — including a pair of high-point performances — the group also had 10 second-place winners and three third-place finishers.
“It was certainly what we were hoping for, but eight first places is pretty strong,” said iTumble & Bounce owner, director and head coach Renee King. “There were 12 teams there and over 180 kids in each event. And they all qualified for nationals, so we’ll be going to Lakeland, Florida, in June.”
The majority of the team, made up of kids ranging from 7 to 17 years old, have been competing since they were young.
“A lot of them have been in gymnastics since they were preschoolers,” King said. “For this season, we started last year in June learning the skills, and then by October, we’ve got our routines together. Their first competition was in October, and then the state meet was in April.”
The squad includes Ella Adams (second in trampoline, second in double-mini); Chloe Dunn (second in trampoline, third in tumbling, fourth in double-mini); Caroline Ebelhar (fourth in tumbling, eighth in trampoline, 10th in double-mini); Maci Hausner (first in tumbling, fourth in trampoline, eighth in double-mini); Mya Kemper (second in tumbling, second in trampoline, third in double-mini); Lake McDuffee (first in trampoline, first in double-mini, second in tumbling); Diddle Murphy (first, high-point in tumbling, first in trampoline, first in double-mini); Annabelle Patton (first in tumbling, second in trampoline, third in double-mini); Cara Schaefer (second in tumbling, fourth in double-mini, eighth in trampoline); and Grayson Starnes (first, high-point in trampoline, second in double-mini).
With what King has seen so far from her team, national championships aren’t out of their grasp.
“Especially our high-point performers, I feel like they are definitely in the running for first, second or third,” she said. “Hopefully it’s first at nationals. I hope to bring home a national championship for sure.
“The last two weeks leading up to state, they worked super hard. They seemed very confident and very comfortable with their performances. Since they were already competing against each other, it helped them to go out there and perform and not have any nerves.”
The group, made up of kids from different schools and backgrounds, will also get a boost heading to nationals. Independence Bank has stepped in to pay for each athlete’s registration fee to ensure that they can compete.
“To be able to give recognition to a team that works so hard — and trampoline and tumbling isn’t something we hear about every day — so to be able to sponsor these kids, their hard work, to be able to give back to this group is super important to us,” said Nick Oller, Independence Bank president for Daviess County. “We love to be able to give back to so many different organizations in our community. When we see young folks like this, it’s something where we love to let our community know we’re here for good and we definitely want to continue to be a community partner.
“We’re just helping out with that to make sure all the kids get to participate. They work so hard, so to be able to get the athletes there is something that’s important to us.”
King, the longtime coach who was born and raised locally, knows her athletes will make Owensboro proud at nationals.
“I’m thrilled, I can’t wait,” she said. “I think they’re all going to do super. We have from now until the second week of June to get prepared. We know what we have to work on, and we’re dedicated to doing that.”
May 8, 2022