INDUSTRY — Beginning at age 4, Kiana Thompson of Industry spent hours learning and practicing gymnastics.
The 13-year-old’s efforts have paid off with a first-place win in vaulting and a ninth for her floor routine at the 2009 YMCA National Championships last week in Pennsylvania.
Twenty-seven gymnasts representing the Waterville YMCA Gymnastics Team competed with more than 1,500 gymnasts nationwide, said Thompson’s mother, Erica, who traveled with her.
Five of the Waterville team members are from the Franklin County area and have trained with coach Delani Evans at Decal Gymnastics since they were 4 or 5, Evans said.
Along with Thompson’s first-place medal for a vaulting score of 9.475 out of 10 points, Alexa Perkins of Jay placed sixth for all-around competition. She placed in three events, earning third on beam, fifth on vault and sixth on her floor routine.
Caitlynn Rollins of Livermore Falls placed sixth on bars and 10th all around. Emilee Eustis of Wilton placed seventh on floor and 17th for all around; Eryn Doiron, also of Wilton, placed 19th all around. Each placed in their own level of ability. All-around placing is determined by adding scores on each event: vault, beam, bars and floor routine.
Thompson, who will begin eighth grade at Mt. Blue Middle School in Farmington in September, likes the strength and tumbling aspects of gymnastics the best.

“A lot of people think it’s hard, but it comes easy once you learn,” she said. She plans to continue with gymnastics throughout her school years, along with basketball, soccer, softball, field and track.
Kiana is competitive in other sports, but gymnastics has always been her favorite, her mother said.
Parents Erica and Kawika Thompson said they are proud of Kiana’s accomplishments.
“She’s probably one of the best athletes at heart, yet a most humble 13-year-old,” Kawika Thompson said. “She has a strong work ethic and is a great leader and inspiration to her teammates and the younger girls.”
Watching her daughter take first place in the national competition was “quite a moment,” Erica Thompson said.
What’s next? The goal is to travel to the national competition in San Diego next year.

Kiana Thompson of Industry took first place in vaulting last week at the 2009 YMCA National Championships held in Pennsylvania. More than 1,500 gymnasts from 20 states competed in the four-day event. Thompson and four other Franklin County gymnasts were part of the Waterville YMCA Gymnastic team.

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