Area students attain national ‘Elite’ status
The upcoming season is going to be an exciting one for a few athletes from Horizons Tumbling and Trampoline team. Several upper-level athletes are preparing for the upcoming season, guaranteed to bring some tough competition as they advance on into their levels of athleticism.
Caleb Watkins of Vidor has recently been approved for his Elite status by the Trampoline Committee of the USA Gymnastics Trampoline and Tumbling program. Caleb, 16, competed as a Junior Elite at the US Elite Challenge in Houston. He earned a bronze medal in trampoline competition as well as placing sixth in double-mini. It was first time to compete as an Elite. To become an Elite, an athlete must complete level 10 by acquiring a set mobilization score and also be reviewed and approved by the advisory board of the Trampoline and Tumbling Program. He has recently scored high enough at his last competition to be able to move to a Senior Elite which is the last level before Olympic eligibility. Caleb is the only Elite male athlete in the trampoline and tumbling program this area.
Also moving up in their levels is Ashlyn Edwards, 13, of Orangefield, who currently competes as a level 10 on trampoline and level 9 on both tumbling and double-mini. Miss Edwards hopefully will be approved for Elite status sometime this season. Bailey Williams of Little Cypress also competes as a level 10 on double-mini and a level 9 on tumbling and trampoline. She will have to wait until she turns 12 to be approved for Elite status, as required by the USAG. Logan Billiot of Mauriceville rounds out the group of upper level athletes as a level 9 on double-mini and trampoline.
According to their coach Orlean Billiot, the kids put in many, many hours in the gym. They train not only physically but mentally to prepare themselves for each competition. As their levels get higher, the competition gets tougher. “These kids are focused and well disciplined and they are great to work with,” Billiot said. “They must also stay focused in school as well, competing at these levels involves a great deal of out of state travel.
“They all have big dreams and are definitely headed down the right path to accomplish them.”
This year will be the first year the U.S. will have athletes compete in Trampoline at the summer Olympics in Bejing. Billiot as well as his athletes were thrilled to be able to witness Chris Estrada and Lauren Blanchard from Lafayette, La., win their spots on the Olympic team at the team trials in Kansas City, Mo. in July.
“The event only inspired these athletes more to dream- and dream big,” Billiot said. “We know Chris personally and it was a thrill to know that one day the same can come true for one of our own. We can’t wait to watch the Olympics; we’ll definitely be glued to the TV.”