Local gymnastics academy represented in national tournament
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor, Windsor Locks - posted Tue., Jun. 5, 2012
It takes dedication, hard work, strength, and athleticism to be a competitive gymnast. Amber Hill, a Windsor Locks resident, and student at All Star Gymnastics Academy in Windsor has shown these characteristics throughout her life, leading her to qualify and compete in the 2012 Junior Olympic National Invitational Tournament (JO-NIT) in Hampton, Va., on May 13. Hill represented the academy well with a strong overall meet competing on the bars, beam and floor exercises and placed fifth overall on the vault.
“My heart races and the feeling is like riding a roller coaster while at the event,” said Michelle Hill, Amber’s mother. “Overall it was a great life experience. It teaches her she can do anything, both physically and mentally, and when the cards are down, she sees the ladder she has to climb to get back up to the top.”
The JO-NIT is held in conjunction with the Women's National Junior Olympic Championships and is used to develop and allow athletes an opportunity to compete at the national level. The JO-NIT was created to allow 192 gymnasts to compete from all 50 states who ranked in the eighth, ninth and 10th levels in the all-around in each of the eight age divisions at the Level 10 Regional Championships. Level 10 is the highest level a gymnast can reach before the elite or college level in the sport.
“Amber is her own wrecking force,” said Mary Elge’s, Hill’s instructor. “She has a dare devil quality which helps gain skills quickly because she’s not afraid of them. She has a good way of dealing with her fear which is what holds up a lot of girls. She’s a talented athlete altogether, she’s very powerful."
Amber joined the gymnastics’ academy at its startup when she moved to Connecticut at 9 years old, making her a member of the academy's inaugural gymnastics class and competition team in 2005. Her commitment to the sport and the academy paid off working her way from a level four all the way up to a level 10 competitor, the first in the school’s history. She has garnered many awards as an individual representing the academy throughout the years.
“The academy has taught me a lot about gymnastics and life,” Amber said. “It taught me really great life lessons like how to be dedicated, how to work hard and go for your goals.”
Hill and Elges spend a lot of time together, working six days a week, four hours at a time honing her skills. Hill has learned great time managing skills from Elges and the school, balancing working at the academy, practicing at the academy, maintaining a 3.7 GPA at school and time for friends. “She has her priorities set for sure; that’s what has made her a successful student and athlete,” Elges said.
Hill, in her junior year at Windsor Locks High School, would like to pursue gymnastics in college. Elges would like to see her attend the Air Force Academy and follow in the background of her parents who were both Marines. Until then Hill and Elges will be found in the gym preparing for 2012-2013 competitions as well as college scouts.