ROCHELLE — Two local youth gymnasts will be competing at the state level this month, and the girls are working hard to prepare for when they take the floor.
St. Paul fifth-grader Taelynn Rodeghero will tumble at the Level 5 Illinois State Gymnastics Competition in Bloomington this weekend on March 11. Rodeghero practices at Sycamore’s Energym four days each week for four hours each day, and the young gymnast is eager to put her 10 years of experience to the test at Redbird Arena.
“My favorite event is the balance beam,” said Rodeghero, who is also enrolled in three dance classes during her spare time. “I feel the most calm on there. The most difficult part of gymnastics is learning new skills. You have to be patient because it can take a long time to master a skill.”
Rochelle Middle School seventh-grader Ellie Carmichael will battle at the Level 8 Illinois State Gymnastics Competition in Sycamore on March 23. Carmichael also practices at Sycamore’s Energym four times each week for four hours each day, and the seventh-grader is looking forward to the tough competition at Sycamore High School.
“The hardest part about gymnastics is pushing through the hard days when you’re struggling with a skill or you’re hurting,” Carmichael said. “But I always have my teammates there to encourage me and help me push through.”
Both girls have been performing gymnastics for most of their lives, and the two said they enjoy many different things about the sport. They also said gymnastics have helped them in other areas of life outside athletics.
“I love everything about gymnastics,” Rodeghero said. “It’s so much fun to do what you love all the time. I love learning new skills and my teammates are like family because we are together all of the time. Gymnastics have taught me how to manage my time with school work and practice. They have taught me what dedication truly means.”
“Gymnastics have had a big impact on my life,” Carmichael added. “They have taught me how to work for something I love and they have taught me not to give up if I really want to achieve my dreams. It may not always be easy but if you work hard you can do anything you set your mind to.”