Local gymnasts head to Junior Olympic National tournament - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Local gymnasts head to Junior Olympic National tournament

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- There are few sports as demanding as gymnastics. 14-year-old Taylor Bacon and 15-year-old Alexis Lawrence are about to do something most kids their age never experience. They are competing in the Junior Olympic Gymnastics Nationals.

"It feels actually quite awesome but I'm really nervous," Bacon said.

 "I'm really excited to go so I'm just ready to go there and do my best," Lawrence added.

Both girls, who train at Garland's Gymnastics Academy are level 10 gymnasts, the highest ranking. It is the first time either are going to next weekend's competition, which takes place in Hampton, Virginia.

"Being under the pressure and kind of getting used to it and feeling what it's like if we get up to the bigger levels," Bacon said.

Gymnastics is one of the hardest and most demanding sports there is. These two girls are going to find out at nationals just how many other good gymnasts there are around the country.

"Going to nationals for the first time, they're going to have their eyes opened looking at skills that 'whooo' they've seen on TV. They're prepared for it but we're taking it one step at a time. It's just another meet," said Brett Garland, the coach and owner of the gym.

Nationals brings in dozens of the top college coaches from around the country. It is a chance for the girls to continue their gymnastics careers at the next level. 

"All these kids up and coming will have that opportunity if they stay with it to get full scholarships and it's a huge expense and if we can be a part of that and get them there that's very rewarding," said Wendy garland, Brett's husband and co-owner.

Both girls say they definitely see college gymnastics in their future.

*On Sunday, May 6 from 11:00-9:00, a fundraiser will be held at Shakey's on Road 68 in Pasco.  If you go in and mention the Garland Fundraiser, 20% of your purchase will go to the group for travel expenses.