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Young Gymnast Scores At State Meet
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Artistic gymnast Stephanie Briggs, 12, of Escalon competed in the 2005 USA Gymnastics Level 7 State Gymnastics Meet held in Visalia, California on March 19. Level 7 is the first step in the USA Gymnastics National Team structure where gymnasts compete in all four women's events (vault, balance beam, uneven bars, and floor exercise) with individually choreographed routines. Stephanie finished with a personal best, medaling in three individual events and the All-Around.

Her scores were: Vault, 8.725, 12th place; Uneven Bars, 8.500, 9th place; Balance Beam, 8.650, 10th place; Floor Exercise, 8.700, 10th place, with an All-Around score of 34.575, 10th place overall in her age division.

Stephanie is a seventh grader at Ripon Christian Middle School, maintaining a 3.6 GPA, and has been in gymnastics since she was four years old (after watching the U.S. Olympic Team win Gold in 1996), and in competitive gymnastics for the last four years. She currently trains 20 hours per week after school at the United States Academy of Elite Gymnastics in Modesto.

"One of the neat things about competing at this level is traveling to other states," said Stephanie. "This year in addition to our California meets, we competed in Reno, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona; and New Orleans, Louisiana."

In her free time, Stephanie enjoys participating in activities at her church, reading, traveling, helping with her three younger sisters, and working as a teacher assistant at Country Kids Child Development Center with her parents.

When asked about what she wants to do when she grows up, Stephanie's answer is no surprise, hoping to enter gymnastics as a trainer/teacher herself.

"My coaches Jim Trost and Lori O'Dell, (who is also an Oakland Raiderette Cheerleader), are the best!," she said enthusiastically. "I learn so much from them. After I finish college on a full scholarship in gymnastics, I want to own my own gymnastics center and teach just like them!"