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Three years ago, Morgan Gatewood showed an interest in gymnastics.
Gatewood started to learn the basics of gymnastics and in her first state meet, she took first place overall at the Kentucky USAG Level Three and Four State Gymnastics Meet in Hawkinsville.
“I just thought it looked interesting and decided to do it,” Gatewood said. “I just picked it up easily. My family was really excited. My coaches were proud of me. It makes me feel good to know that I’m good. It feels awesome.”
Her favorite part of gymnastics is the vault because “I have a lot of power and it’s fun to run.” She also loves to compete against others.
Gatewood started at Shelley’s Gymnastics in Dry Ridge and transitioned to Five Star Gymnastics and Cheerleading in Erlanger.
“She’s a talented, naturally gifted gymnast and she’s developed quickly,” coach Terri Weier said. “Her desire, maturation, strength and flexibility are what have helped her. For her first time, it’s tough to take first place.”
Gatewood practices two days a week for four hours at a time to improve and believes the work paid off.
“I want to be good and I want to keep competing,” Gatewood said.
Gatewood took first place in three of the four categories on her way to the overall title. Gatewood earned a 9.60 on the vault, a 9.05 on the uneven bars, a 9.025 on the balance beam and a 9.75 for her floor routine.
“I think that she’s put a lot of effort into it and it’s something that she works hard at,” Mark Gatewood, her father, said. “It’s something that she enjoys. It’s a thrill for her. She gets out on the floor and she’s in another world. She’s focused and she’s enjoying it at the same time.”
Her family was surprised to learn that she had taken first overall, but Morgan took it in stride.
“It was pretty overwhelming when they said she had won overall state at her level,” Mark said. “She reacted modestly. She’s not the type of child to jump around and go crazy. She went up and accepted her award, but she always smiles.”
While she was proud to earn the individual award, she was also happy to help her team take second place at the competition.
“I’ve learned from my teammates to always keep my toes pointed and my legs straight,” Morgan said. “It’s nice competing with them.”
Gatewood hopes to one day compete in the Olympics and wants to keep working for her dream.
“I think that I’m good at gymnastics and I want to keep getting better. The Olympics is the highest I can go,” Morgan said.