Young Gymnasts Raising the Bar

Published: Apr. 29, 2023 at 6:53 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - 12, 11, 10 and 8... those are the ages of 4 of the top gymnasts in the state of Florida, and they all are a part of the same team, World Class Athletics and they’re all head over heels for the sport.

“I did tumbling, about 30, in a gym 30 minutes away from here and I liked it and got the hang of it, so I wanted to gymnastics”, said 8 year old, Ian O’connor.

Now the pressure to compete at the highest levels is a lot to handle for even the most experienced athletes, so how do these young boys, who haven’t even made it through middle school yet, handle it?

12 year old, Brady McAlister has a strong methond, “I try not to be too focused because that messes me up, I try not to get in my own head and just have fun.”

“I’m thinking, I just got to do my best and have fun. And you just got to have courage to go through it”, 11 year old, Graysen McDavid.

And being able to compete at competitions across the country doesn’t just bring these guys medals and awards, it brings them life long friendships.

10 year old, Carter Quitter said, “Every competition I see the same the same people, but I don’t compete with them because there’s two or three gymnastics on each event, so I always make new friends.”

With two gymnasts that competed at nationals and another, that being Carter, named a top 8 gymnast in Florida... for these boys, there’s so much value everyday practice.

“The high leveled ones, they, they help me through the skills they already have and they just end up being really helpful”, said McAlister.

“It’s really amazing how I have everybody here to support me and sometimes I need to help some other people and they help me in the future”, said McDavid.

“It’s good privilege because I have a lot of people that are a higher level than me so they can help me doing my events and my skills”, said O’Connor.

And let’s go back to Carter for a second, because I don’t know if you caught what I just said... at 10 years old he qualified for the Florida Elite Team, meaning he’s one of the top 8 gymnasts in the entire state of Florida at his level and he couldn’t be more excited.

“That really means a lot because I fell on floor and still qualified and I’m just so excited I’m going to the Regionals camp. It’s so cool, I really like just telling all my friends.”

Carter will head off to his Regional meet in early June.