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Rockford-Area Gymnasts Flip Michigan Team A to Regional Championship

By Joel Koch, 06/01/18, 5:15PM EDT

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In sports, the numbers on the scoreboard tell the outcome. Then, there are the numbers not displayed in lights that tell the story. In this case, four. Four gymnasts – Claire Adams, Leah Koch, Georgia Readwin and Emma Shutich – helped lift Michigan Team A to the 2018 Region 5 Xcel Gold Championship. With predominately negative headlines circulating about the sport, especially in Michigan, this group put the focus back on competition.

What makes these Rockford-area athletes special though is that they made up half of the entire 8-member team. No small feat when taking into consideration there were 486 gymnasts from around the Mitten State competing to make the squad All four girls showed tremendous resolve to qualify for the team – winning individual state championships in their respective age divisions and contributing to a team championship for their gym Rising Starz Fitness.

“Regionals is one of my favorite competitions of the season,” said Coach Srah Gross. “It’s a great reward to all the hard work put in from the start of the season a year ago. It’s also very cool for the girls to become a team with gymnasts from other clubs. Coaches and gymnasts from all over the state come together to become one team. Such an amazing experience all around for everyone.”

Determined by the results of the State Championship meet, the top eight All-Around scores form the state’s A Team. Each state in the region, which also includes Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, then sends their top scoring gymnasts to compete at the regional competition. This year’s event was hosted at Grand Park Sports Complex in Westfield, IN on April 27.

“It’s always an exciting accomplishment for our gymnasts to make the state team for their division,” stated Gross. “Xcel has increasingly become bigger and more competitive over the last couple of years and we are incredibly proud to have Rising Starz represent Team Michigan.”

It was no doubt an accomplishment to qualify for the team, but even more impressive was that each contributed to the team score of 153.300, edging Illinois at 151.925 and Indiana at 151.550 for the title.

Shutich led the way with a spectacular performance, finishing second All-Around in the 40-girl field with a score of 37.950. Her solid routines on Bars (9.500), Beam (9.500) and Floor (9.650) all contributed to the team championship. Readwin wasn’t far behind, finishing fourth All-Around with a 37.875 score, using an impressive Floor routine (9.725) that netted her a silver medal. Her Beam (9.550) score was also instrumental in the win.

Koch finished 18th All-Around with a 37.425 All-Around, impacting the team score with a solid Floor (9.700) routine. Big team offerings on Vault (9.500) and Bars (9.475) from Adams brought her in at 37.174 All-Around, good for 24th.

“Our Gold Team A athletes are a very dynamic, fun and hard working group of ladies,” said Gross. “All four of them have been very consistent in their growth over the season. My favorite event to watch them all perform is floor. They all have the ability to catch your eye, make you stop and watch. You can’t help but smile the entire time. Not only are their skills clean and strong, but they know how to show it off!”

Of note, Rising Starz had seven additional gymnasts qualify for teams that represented the Mitten State – Three in the Xcel Silver division, two in Xcel Platinum and two Xcel Diamond gymnasts. The gym also had 62 additional athletes qualify to represent the Michigan All Stars where they competed individually in their perspective age groups.