VIRGINIA — Northern Twistars Gymnastics of Virginia just finished one of the most successful seasons they have had.
They did it in style at the Region 4 Meet in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on April 23-25 and came away with an All-Around Champion and several other top finishers.
Leading the way was 11-year-old Zelia Brysch, who participated in Level Gold. Brysch was first in the uneven bars and balance beam, while taking third in floor exercise and eighth on vault.
Put all those together and Brysch was the All-Around Champion at the Region 4 Meet, which covers Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Missouri. More than 60 gyms and 1,200 Minnesota athletes competed at the Region 4 Meet.
Brysch of Eveleth has been with NTG since preschool classes and “has just a drive for being such a young kid. She is very driven and understands what the judges are looking for,’’ said Gwyn Roos, co-owner and coach at NTG, along with Lisa Wobbema. “She’s very smart and methodical at 11 years old.’’
Despite going against gymnasts from seven states, Brysch said she wasn’t that nervous at all. “A little bit, but I just thought of it as a regular competition.’’ She added that “it felt normal because I do a lot of competitions.’’
Asked about the uneven bars, Roos said Brysch “just this year she learned how to swing bars.’’ The 11-year-old Virginia student is comfortable and making things bigger and a little bit more bold on the bars. At the last three meets NTG has been at, Brysch has been their top bar athlete in Gold Level.
Regarding the balance beam, Roos said it is a mind over matter type of thing. The girls do a lot of routines and nerves often become the main obstacle.
Brysch, though, has already mastered that.
“She is very dynamic (on the beam), definitely a performer. She has the whole package,’’ Roos said.
Brysch was calm, cool and collected as the winners were being announced, even for the All-Around.
“I wasn’t that surprised because they already called me out for all the other stuff. I kind of knew that I was going to be first,’’ she said.
Ironically, the young athlete didn’t think she would win the All-Around ahead of time. “I thought I might get second or third.’’
Roos said the entire NTG team (14 girls went) did well at the Region Meet, especially since State and Region meets were canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus.
The times the girls could not be in the gym in the last year changed the mindset of the gymnasts, Roos added. They realized it’s a privilege to do the sports they love, she said, the time off defined things for them.
“As a team they were extremely close, extremely encouraging’’ after coming back. “It was just a very positive gym to be in.’’
Roos said the team gives each person support that they can do different things.
“They get to be self motivated, but they also have a team that perpetuates positivity and momentum. Our whole team is extremely gifted and driven right now.’’
The results for the Region 4 Meet are as follows:
Gold Xcel Rankings
Addison Lobe, 9 (Virginia); 3rd Place on Floor Exercise
Willa Roos, 11 (Hibbing); 6th Place on Balance Beam
Zelia Brysch, 11 (Eveleth); 8th Place Vault, 1st Place Uneven Bars, 1st Place Balance Beam, 3rd Place Floor, 1st Place All-Around
Avary Brandau, 11 (Ely); 4th Place Vault, 8th Place uneven Bars
Aubrie Takanen, 12 (Aurora); 6th Place Vault, 2nd Place Uneven Bars, 2nd Place Balance Beam, 6th Place Floor, 3rd Place All-Around
Veyda Friend, 13 (Hibbing); 2nd Place Vault, 5th Place Uneven Bars, 6th Place Floor, 4th Place All-Around
Miia Johnson, 13 (Virginia); 5th Place Vault
Jayden Brunner, 13 (Penguilly); 7th Place Vault, 4th Balance Beam, 1st Place Floor, 3rd Place All-Around
Platinum Xcel Rankings (a level up from GOLD)
Cally Anderson, 13 (Eveleth); 4th Place Uneven Bars, 7th Place Floor
Sophie Roark, 13 (Virginia); 6th Place Vault, 7th Place Floor, 8th Place All-Around
Abbie Sather, 13 (Eveleth); 8th Place Floor