Young gymnast Victoria “Ria” Sessions of Norway won her third straight state championship in March. Supplied photo

NORWAY — Victoria “Ria” Sessions of Norway is getting ready for the next level of gymnastics. The eleven-year-old has been competing since 2019 and every year she has advanced while also setting the standard for other Maine gymnasts to follow.

Sessions started her career at the age of eight, competing at the bronze level. In 2021, she moved up to silver and, by last December, she was competing at gold. Next she has her sights on making it to platinum level.

In March, Sessions went to the Maine State Championship and — for the third time — earned All Around State Champion in her division. Her final score was 37.650. She placed first on the balance beam, vault and uneven bars and took silver in the floor exercise.

Sessions knows she needs to stay focused and work hard to stay on top locally and to climb higher in regional and national event rankings.

“Every dog has its day,” she quipped when asked about competing. “Anyone can win it.”

Currently she is preparing to compete at the Xcel Region VI Championship in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, which starts on May 21. Region VI includes gymnasts from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut.


Following regionals she will head to the Xcel Championships Invitational in Daytona Florida, a national meet which takes place June 17-19.

Gracia Casia-Sessions (left) has helped her daughter, gymnast Ria Sessions, with her event choreography since she began competing three years ago. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

“She has changed drastically” since joining the Maine Academy of Gymnastics in Westbrook” 15 months ago, Sessions’ mother Gracia Casia-Sessions, told the Advertiser Democrat. “There is so much more equipment for her. And the training she has, she gets more hours. She has really grown. She can do this and do that, before she couldn’t and now she can.

“She has mastered a lot of skills and now she is training for the next level (platinum) again.”

In her second season at MAG, Sessions spends more than 10 hours a week training in Westbrook. At home she works independently on conditioning. One of her good friends, Ryver Davis, trains and competes with her.

“I am working up to the next level. It’s really fun to do new skills that are higher up,” Sessions said.

As Sessions grows within the sport her performance and preferences continue to evolve. When she began training at MAG her strongest event was balance beam, but now she feels she is better on the floor and bars. She says that the beam is still her favorite.


Victoria “Ria” Sessions competes in her favorite event, balance beam, at the 2022 Maine State Gymnastics Championship. Sessions took the top medal for the third straight time.

Sessions assesses and changes up the choreography of her routines on a regular basis.

“Lets just say that if I don’t like it or I get deducted on it, I change it,” she said. “I had a back handspring onto my stomach and I was getting one- or two-tenths deducted for it. So I changed it to a back walkover half, where I go onto one hand and twist on my back.”

The moves have the same difficulty level, and Sessions was able to add points to her floor exercise scores by changing it up.

Sessions’ dream is to compete at the 2028 Olympics, which will be take place in Los Angeles. She and her parents know she has a lot of hard work in front of her to get there.

“I may go to Texas in a few years to practice,” she said. “To the gym where Simone Biles went. I know there’s a lot of good coaches there. They created Simone Biles!”

Sessions admires Biles for her achievements and her courage to take care of herself at the Olympics last year, held in Tokyo. She says that often athletes will scratch from an event because they need to take time to breathe. She has not yet felt that kind of pressure in her gymnastics competitions.

“It doesn’t really bother me,” she stated. “Because I just do it for fun.”


Comments are not available on this story.