Freeman headed for Hawaii |

Freeman headed for Hawaii

by Joey Crandall

When C. C. Meneley Elementary School fifth-grader Sterling Freeman started participating in gymnastics two and a half years ago, he had no idea where it would take him so quickly.

Freeman, competing for the Gardnerville Gymnastics Tumbleweeds at the recent Nevada state championships, placed fourth in the level 5 all-around to qualify for the regional championships in Hawaii in late April.

“I was nervous at state,” Freeman said. “I just watched other people and thought about what I could do to make my routines better.

“It felt really good to qualify for regionals.

“They only take the top eight from each age group in each state to regionals, so it was exciting to make it.”

Freeman said his strengths throughout the season have been the high bar, the floor and the vault.

“I got into this because a couple kids at my school were doing it and I wanted to try it out,” he said. “It ended up being fun. I liked it from the time I started.”

Freeman, as well as the rest of the boys’ team, puts in about 12 to 16 hours of practice a week, on top of balancing schoolwork.

Freeman wasn’t the only Tumbleweed boy to do well at the state championships.

Keaton Peters took third in the all-around for the level 4 athletes, Brandon Basche took sixth and Cole Petrosky took 14th.

Level 5 competitor Mason Parodi took 14th in the all-around.

On the girls’ side, first-year level five competitor Baylee Robinson took fourth in the all-around, but the regional championships don’t start until level eight for girls, so she won’t be going on to Hawaii as well.

The highlight of the day was when she took second place in the bars.

“I was really hoping I could get a 36 in the all-around, which would have meant getting all nines in my events, but I ended up with a 35.8,” she said.

Even so, she took a number of first-place medals home during the season.

“This being her first year as a level five gymnast, we were all blown away by her dedication and talent,” said girls’ coach Cassandra Warren.

Cori Craig moved up to level 5 heading into the season and jumped up to level 6 within the first three meets of the season.

In successive meets, she was able to score high enough to qualify for level 7.

“This is a giant milestone at Tumbleweeds,” Warren said. “With her success, she’s earned optional level status.”

Longtime Tumbleweeds gymnast Talyn Jackson competed as a level 4 gymnast this season. She took home sixth-place at the state championships against many seasoned level four gymnasts.

Katarina Vondruska had a solid season at level 5, Aryana Petrosky accomplished her goal to move up to level 6, as did Samantha Campos.

Maya Krug and Lauren Hoffman had strong first seasons as level 4 gymnasts and will both compete at level 5 next year.

Lauren Hoffman received a 9.1 on the vault on Sunday.

The Tumbleweeds will be conducting a car wash and bake sale on April 7 in front of Big Daddy’s bicycle shop by Pizza Barn on Highway 395 in Gardnerville. The gym is attempting to raise about $900 to send Freeman to the regional championships.

“(Big Daddy’s owner) Keith Hart is graciously allowing us to use his parking lot for the car wash, so we are very thankful to him,” said Tumbleweeds coach Shamra Petrosky.

For more information on Gardnerville Gymnastics Tumbleweeds, call 265-6197.

— Joey Crandall can be reached at or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.