By JAMES DRAPER
A pair of Kilgore Acro Flyers brought home gold from North Carolina and the USA Gymnastics Championships early this month.
With the win at the 2018 National Championship, Landon Davis and Trent Wolf are now on an international track. At 12 and 14, respectively, they’ll be attempting newer and harder skills in coming months, preparing for competitions abroad.
“It felt really good having a competitor against us,” Trent Wolf said this week: it’s been rare to see other men’s pairs competing in the acrobatic gymnastics contests and the local boys finally faced opponents in their age bracket. “I think it went great.”
There’s no stage fright to speak of, he added: “Not when I get on the floor.”
Acro Flyers Sierra Barton, Layla Banda and Kailyn Young also competed during the July 3-7 contest in Greensboro, North Carolina.
It was a long road to North Carolina, said Krystal Davis, parent and coach.
“We talked about it here and we practiced it, but it’s a totally different ballgame when you go into an arena like that,” Krystal Davis said.
The boys performed their routine in front of a crowd of, roughly, 3,000 gymnastics fans plus eight judges and their eagle-eyes.
“We were holding our breath,” Acro Flyers Head Coach Ada Alexander said.
“But they had the skill,” Davis added.
There’s always the danger of a faceplant, Alexander joked, but the boys had clean execution throughout their skills demonstration. Smooth as it was, she added, the contest wasn’t a lock.
“When I saw who we were going up against I was nervous,” head coach Ada Alexander admitted. The opposing gym often produces national champions, “But our guys were good. We knew our guys were very good.
“Our boys beat them convincingly.”
Facing the other Level 6 men’s pair, the Kilgore boys netted a score of 26.100 to their opponents’ 24.600.
“I was impressed,” Alexander added. “I’ve been saying it all along: if they were both on their game the same day and they hit it; they would play havoc with them.”
Worth, she quips, the new pair of glasses she had to purchase when Davis and Wolf managed to kick her in the face during practice the past year.
“It wasn’t intentional. It just happens,” Alexander said, part of the rigors of training youngsters in acrobatic moves. “My big toe has been broken three times this year.”
After being pointed toward the international track, the pair has since received an official invitation. Krystal and her husband, Adam, along with Trey and Kara Wolf, have agreed to keep supporting the youths on the acro-journey.
“They have been nominated to be a part of the 11-16 age group to go and represent our country abroad,” Alexander told Kilgore Rotarians Wednesday. “They’ve got a year’s worth of really hard work ahead of them to go represent our country in the world games.”
The boys’ next meet is in February 2019.
“Barring any major catastrophes,” Alexander said, “at this time next year they’ll be part of the future stars conglomerate and that has them on the international track.
“Then the fun begins. We will be looking for some sponsors because that’s a big, giant endeavor.”
The Acro Flyers are planning a fundraiser Halloween costume party Oct. 28 to help cover some of the coming training costs. Follow Kilgore News Herald for updates.