Xtreme Athletics enjoy successful season

Published 5:40 pm Monday, June 22, 2020

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They gymnasts of Xtreme Athletics in Troy were having a very successful season before the coronavirus shut down all activities.

Under the training of head coach Paul Diaz and coach Liza Tharpe, the gymnasts of Xtreme Athletics had all of their optional team members, competing at level six or higher, qualify for the State Championships which were scheduled in March, but was later cancelled due to COVID-19.

In a typical season, participants had the opportunity to qualify for the Regional Championships at state. This season however, all the State Chairs took the top two scores for all the Level 6-10 gymnasts and determined who would be advancing to regionals. The top qualifiers were selected to represent the state, while the remaining qualifiers were named as Alabama All-Stars. Xtreme Athletics had five gymnasts named as region qualifiers: Eden Bruner (Level 7), Celeste Colquett (Level 6), Emma Crawly (Level 6), Kate Deloney (Level 6) and Karlee Hester (Level 6).

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“The success we had was a testament of all the hard work the girls put in preparing for this year and buying into being successful,” Diaz said.

Unfortunately for the five gymnasts of Xtreme Athletics, they didn’t’ have the chance to compete at the Regional championships. Due to COVID-19, Xtreme Athletics had their season shut down well before the scheduled end date. They were scheduled to compete in their fifth meet of the season in Georgia before hearing the news it was canceled. After joining another meet, word was handed down that the season had been canceled.

“That cut our season, along with everyone else’s short,” Diaz said. “It was unfortunate because we were having so much success and I was looking forward to seeing my girls go to state.”

Like any athlete the gymnasts had to adjust and come to grips about their season ending abruptly.

“They were down about it,” Diaz said. “They obviously wanted to finish the season. We all got on Zoom together during the quarantined and depending on the day we did two to three hours a day of workouts. As bad as they wanted to finish the season, I think they have been ok with it considering everything we have had to go through.”

Xtreme Athletics practice 16 hours a week at a minium. Both Diaz and coach Tharpe expect each gymnast to focus and work hard every time they set foot in the gym.

“They have to be committed to putting the hours in every week throughout the year,” Diaz said. “We very rarely take time off. We are practicing a minimum of 16 hours a week and sometimes more than that. They have to be able do the little things day in and day out, whether its routines or the conditioning that we put into place throughout the year.”

The gymnasts have to be dedicated to get work done outside of the gym as well.

“They have to be able to put the work in at the gym and in school as well,” Diaz said. “If they don’t have the grades, I’m not going to let them practice or compete. They have to stay on top of their school work and they have to manage their time to be able to do their homework.

Xtreme now shifts its focus to next season when they hope to continue to build their program.

“We are hoping to have a Level 8 team next year,” Diaz said. “That’s my goal. Not sure it can happen after being off for so long. We are looking to advance levels and have all the kids move from six to seven. We look to being just as successful as we were last year. The girls have bought into it so well that they understand what it takes.”