Gymnasts qualified for state meet at Aloha Gymfest

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    From left: Coach Anne Eulalio, Audrey Kaona-Sarsona, Alexis Telles, Kailar Aguiar and coach Karla Villanueva-Bernal and other gym members in the background stop for a photo Wednesday at Garden Island Gymnastics in Kapaa.

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    Garden Island Gymnastics coach Karla Villanueva-Bernal, left, talks about gymnasts Alexis Telles, second from left, Audrey Kaona-Sarsona, second from right, and Kailar Aguiar to other gym members Wednesday in Kapaa.

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    From left: Gymnasts Audrey Kaona-Sarsona, Alexis Telles and Kailar Aguiar stop for a photo Wednesday at Garden Island Gymnastics in Kapaa.

KAPAA — A handful of young gymnasts have already qualified for states.

Three competing members of Garden Island Gymnastics took part at Aloha Gymfest during Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend on Oahu hosted by Kokokahi Gymnastics.

“I’m super proud of them,” GIG coach Karla Villanueva-Bernal said. “They made some mistakes, and they still hit the minimum requirement for state. So, they were kind of hard on themselves. I had to tell them, ‘Guys, relax. You did really well. This is your first competition for this season as Level 4s. You guys are rocking it already.’ They did great.”

GIG’s Kailar Aguiar, 7, Audrey Kaona-Sarsona, 9, and Alexis Telles, 9, each accumulated all-around scores that qualified them for the state meet in November.

Gymnasts had to get scores of at least 32 points to qualify, Villanueva-Bernal said. Aguiar scored 33.475, Kaona-Sarsona scored 32.125 and Telles scored 32.475.

The three from GIG competed in a group of 47 gymnasts at Aloha Gymfest. Each of them placed in the top 10 of varying events — vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor.

“It’s a huge gymnastics international competition,” said Villanueva-Bernal. “There were invites from all over the world coming in. It’s a whole weekend competition. … It’s actually so big, I was planning on taking like 13 kids, but they had no more room.”

The coach added this year’s competition was a lot more demanding than in past meets.

“This was our third one going. The other ones were super friendly, and they were a little more lenient,” Villanueva-Bernal said. “This one was very hard — very hard judging.”

In the meantime, Villanueva-Bernal said her gymnasts will train until the next competitive meet. An exhibition is planned for May.

The school plans to next compete in August.

GIG will also host a fundraiser called “Parents Night Out” on Feb. 16.

“It’s pretty much, you can drop off your kids here at the gym. Parents can go out and have fun, and they can drop off their kids here from 5 to 9,” Villanueva-Bernal said. “We’ll do gymnastics, movies, food and so on.

“It’s totally glorified babysitting, but it’s so much fun. The last one we had, it was such a blast. We had a really good time. My favorite part was seeing the parents trying to do gymnastics. We had our parents help and volunteer. That was really cool.”

Cost for the fundraiser is $50.

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Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or ncelario@thegardenisland.com.

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