The Rome Aerials Level 3 gymnastics team came away from the Georgia Make a Wish meet in Paulding County with a big first place trophy earlier this month. New coach Chloe Schuttinga said she was as proud as she could be for the team which includes youngsters who are somewhere between the beginner and intermediate level.

Schuttinga, a former gymnast herself, took over the team in December.

The local youngsters, including Emery Jones, Kassidy Cook, Emily Baker, Vivian Hartline and Nora Knaak, did particularly well in the vault and floor exercise competitions. Women’s gymnastics also includes performances on the uneven bars and balance beam.

The gymnastics program run by the Rome Floyd County Parks and Recreation Department currently has about 45 youngsters and is growing.

Members of the Level 7 team placed third at the Hilton Head Invitational. Participating in that meet were Mattilyn Day, Katelyn Hood and Zoe Rahn.

Schuttinga said that interest seems to have picked up a little already this year. “That’s probably because it’s an Olympic year. I kind of expect to see a spike this year,” Schuttinga said.

The younger girls practice in the former Marine Armory on Shorter Avenue — which is now the rec headquarters building — at least three times a week. Some of the older girls practice at least five times a week.

The Rome Aerials program is a year-round offering with classes for children as young as 18 months old. Open gym for girls between the ages of 6 and 12 is scheduled each Friday night from 6:30 to 8:30.

The competition schedule this year includes six meets, the next one slated for Feb. 7 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Ansley Parrish currently serves as coordinator for the overall gymnastics program.

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