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East Valley victories

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Posted: Wednesday, August 9, 2006 1:09 am | Updated: 4:16 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Arizona Olympian Gymnastics put on a clinic last month at the Trampoline and Tumbling National Championships in Schaumburg, Ill.

Eleven athletes from the Chandler-based school pulled off top 10 finishes among 1,900 gymnasts, which included a 1-2 finish in the double-mini trampoline event. Six athletes had two top 10 finishes to their credit.

"Tumbling and trampoline is a new sport to the state of Arizona," said Lyle Guthrie, who runs the school along with wife, Karleen, and son Sterling. "A lot of gymnasts who can't do all the hours required for gymnastics get into this sport."

Lyle Guthire has been operating his gymnastics school since 1986, but just began the trampoline and tumbling discipline in December. He credits the success of his students to Toni and Roumen Gabrovski, former Bulgarian world championship coaches who he hired two years ago.

"Parents love these two and the kids will do anything for their coaches," said Guthrie, who described the two as grandparents to their students.

USA Gymnastics explains the sport as follows: Trampoline events involve athletes using trampolines that can propel them up to 30 feet in the air, during which they can perform single, double and twisted somersaults. Tumbling utilizes elevated spring runways that enable athletes to jump at heights over 10 feet and execute a variety of acrobatic maneuvers. Double-mini competition involves the athlete making a short run and leaping onto a small two-level trampoline. The athlete will then perform an aerial maneuver and dismount onto a landing mat.

For Arizona Olympian Gymnastics, Jennifer Horton and Delaney Ahern finished first and second, respectively, in the double-mini for ages 11-12. Horton was third in tumbling while Ahern was 10th.

Jordyn Petka (9-10) finished third and ninth while Jessica Tucker (15 and older) was fourth and second in double-mini and tumbling.

Other double winners were Robbie Atanassov (9-10 boys), who was third in double-mini and seventh in trampoline and Sarah Saleck (13-14 girls), who finished seventh in double-mini and 10th in trampoline.

Hanna Saleck (15 and older girls, fourth, tumbling), Kaitlin Johnson (9-10 girls, ninth, double-mini), Jacque Randall (15 and older girls, sixth, trampoline), Sean Morgan (men, ninth, tumbling) and Alex Thompson (men, ninth, tumbling) also had top 10 finishes.

"It's one of those sports that not a lot has been said about it yet," Guthrie said.

HOOPING IT UP

The Arizona Warriors went to Orlando, Fla., to defend their AAU U10 girls national basketball championship last month, but came up just short in the 70-team tournament, finishing second.

But by winning nationals last season and finishing second this year, the Scottsdale-based team has had more success at the national level than any other team or club in the history of Arizona youth basketball, according to their coach Curtis Ekmark.

"Last year people thought our success (a first-year team winning the national title) was a fluke but now we've proven we are one of the elite teams in the country," Ekmark said.

The Warriors went undefeated in pool play to join the top 36 teams in a double-elimination bracket to determine the national champion. On their way to the title game the Warriors (8-2) picked up victories by margins 23, 35, 20, 33, 34, 23 and 28 points (twice). Their two losses were against eventual champion Tennessee.

"The key to their success is their pressing defense and unselfish passing game," Ekmark said, whose team practices on a court he has built at his home. "We were winning easily in every game until we went up against Tennessee. I'm still pleasantly surprised with our results."

Seven of the eight girls are from the Scottsdale/Arcadia area — Courtney Ekmark, Chantel Osahor, Shilpa Tummala, Casey Rarrick, Katie Werner, Danielle Williams and Dominique Williams — while one girl — Lyndsay Leikem — commutes from Tucson.

Curtis Ekmark is a Scottsdale attorney who played basketball for Lake Havasu High School and Marquette University.

NOTEWORTHY

Fourth and fifth graders from around the country competed July 29 at the Scholastic Clay Target Program's Rookie National Skeet and Sporting Clays Championships in Pacolet, S.C., with a team featuring area youths claiming second and third place. The Ben Avery Clay Crushers team of Holden Huff of Scottsdale, Cody Baird of Cave Creek and Tanner Bissell of Desert Hills — hit 231 of 300 targets for their runner-up finish in the skeet division. In Sporting Clays, the trio hit 177 of 300 targets to finish third.

Three area teams are competing this week in the Trap portion of the national championships in Sparta, Ill.

The Red Mountain Target Terminators, made up of Clary Garret-Cobbs and Isaac Evans from Mesa, Hayden Edgmon of Queen Creek and Gilbert's Justin Williams are participating in the senior (ninth-12th graders) experienced division while Gilbert's Jack Murphy, Corey Peterson of Phoenix, Michael Reeves of Mesa, Queen Creek's Kyle Wandelear and Patrick Wood of Chandler will shoot in the senior novice division.

The Ben Avery Clay Crushers will have Brett Hoeppner of Cave Creek; Chase Karvanek from Anthem and Wes Borie, Luke McCabe-O'Donnell and Lane Shank of Phoenix representing the club in the junior (sixth through eighth graders) division.

Know of someone who deserves mention in East Valley Victories? Contact Billye Jill Paulson at (480) 898-6862 or bpaulson@aztrib.com

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