Preparing for next level |

Preparing for next level

Two gymnasts hope to improve one more step

Dorina Fredrickson and Jordan Porter qualified for the next level of competition this fall during the USA Gymnastics season, but they’ve still got some work to do before they go from Level 5 to Level 6.

“I have to learn a back walkover on the beam and an aerial,” Porter said.

Fredrickson agreed that her back walkover needed some work.

Their coach, Deirdre Bernard, acknowledged the girls’ improvement and ability this year, calling it “fabulous.” Both girls earned well above the required overall score of a 31 to move to Level 6, but, “I make things more strict for them before we let them move up. With hard work though, they can still do it.”

Bernard joined the Gym Star Fun N Fit Gymnastics program four months ago, after gym owner Kelly Davidson recruited her from Steamboat Springs.

“It took her about three months to get me because of the drive and stuff,” Bernard said. “But I’m here, and it’s been fun to see how much this gym has grown in four months.”

Bernard worked with the Steamboat program for three years; before that, she was the head girls gymnastics coach at the University of Texas.

She primarily works with the girls who are at Level 5 and higher, as well as the pre-competition boys.

“I hadn’t worked with younger boys for several years and I’ve enjoyed it,” she said. “They should be ready to compete in May.”

Practicing with boys also has been a new experience for the girls. Bernard made a rule that if a girl was on the boys’ equipment too much, she would draw a mustache on the violator.

“It’s a running joke in the gym,” the coach said. “I’ve never really had to do it.”

Although the girls fear a mustache on their faces, they aren’t afraid of defying gravity. Porter’s ability earned her an overall score of 33.65 at a USAG competition in Eagle/ Vail this fall. Any score better than a 33 earns a birth to the state competition.

Fredrickson just missed a state qualification by one-tenth of a point.

“One-tenth of a point is basically a leg bend,” Bernard said. “She was so close.”

Porter will compete in the state meet Nov. 20 and 21 in Arvada.

“I need to improve my floor exercise,” she said. ” That has been my weakest event.”

Bernard was eager to see how much her pupil will have improved.

“Places don’t matter that much to me,” she said. “I stress that they improve every meet, because eventually if they do that, they’ll win. I expect a good performance from Jordan.”

The fall USAG meets were for Levels 5 and 6 compulsory gymnasts. The Gymstar program includes beginning gymnasts to the upper levels. The Level 7 and higher gymnasts will have a chance to compete for USAG in the winter/spring season.

The beginning and intermediate gymnasts will have opportunities this spring in the state-level program called EAGLES.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or

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