Local Gymnasts to train at Karolyi’s Ranch

Published 5:25 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nine year-old Kristen Gibson was one of two gymnasts from the Brook-Lin Center for Gymnastics to qualify for the TOPs National Gymnastics Team, earning her the right to train at Bela Karolyi’s Ranch in Houston, Texas in December.

Gibson has been in gymnastics training at the Brook-Lin Center, which is located in Diamondhead/Pass Christian, since she was four years old, and has received various awards. Some of the awards she has received include All-Around Champion for 2004, 2005, and 2006, and floor exercise champ for 2007. Her coaches are Terry Musial and Cynthia Dedeaux.

The other gymnast to qualify for the TOPs National Team is 11 year-old Jenna Deer of Slidell, La.

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“Both girls have trained very hard and are extremely dedicated toward improving their physical abilities required to earn a spot at national testing,” said Musial.

Kristen Gibson’s mother, Monica Gibson, who works at the gym, said students are allowed to start testing for the TOP’s National team at age seven. Kristen tested for the first time last year at age eight, Monica Gibson said.

“Seven and eight year olds get placed on a team, but they don’t go to testing. Kristen made the silver team as an eight year old. This year she tested as a nine year old, and made the B team for her age group,” Monica Gibson said.

According to a press release from the Brook-Lin Center, 3,000 gymnasts participated in the TOPs Regional testing over the summer. Of those 3,000, 300 were invited to the National Testing at the National Team Training Center in New Waverly, Texas in October.

“The gymnasts with the top 20 scores from each age group (9-11) are chosen as the TOPs National Team. Gymnasts with the next 20 highest scores are invited to attend a TOPs National Team B Camp,” stated the release.

Monica Gibson said Kristen will attend a week-long camp at Bela Karolyi’s Ranch in Houston, Texas in December.

“At the ranch, she will train with Olympic coaches. They will see how close she is to being elite. She could go elite in the next two years, and once she goes elite, she will compete internationally,” Monica Gibson said.

“This really is a gathering of girls who will become America’s Elite female gymnasts. The girls you see at national camp will be showing up in international, world and Olympic competitions,” said USA Gymnastics Elite National Chairman Gary Anderson in the release.