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Congrats to the New All Star Squad!

diamondWe want to congratulate the following athletes on making the 2013/14 Gem City All Star Cheer Squad! Hope and I truly enjoyed the tryout process. We look forward to working with you during the upcoming year.

2013/14 Cheer Squad:

Calissa Cormier
Makenna Gray
Olivia Hoebing
Kylie Jones
Shelby Lahr
Amber Leonard
Ashley Leonard
Sophia Marcola
Kayla McElroy
Savannah Nash
Sierra Nash
Kaylyn Orpet-Hulett
Brenna Phillips
Lindsey Schafer
Kelsey Shires
Sophie Soltwedel

2013 Level 5 State Meet Results

Coaches Kiki Backoff, Hope Cernea, and Jacob Huff are picture with the entire 2012-2013 gymnastics team.

Coaches Kiki Backoff, Hope Cernea, and Jacob Huff are picture with the entire 2012-2013 gymnastics team.

We’re busy preparing for the state tumbling meet we’re hosting on May 18. (Read more about it here.) But we wanted to take some time to highlight how our level 5 gymnasts performed in Peoria at their state meet. We’re very proud of all their hard work!

Read individual results below.

Sydney Stupavsky

3rd Place – Beam

5th Place – Floor

9th Place – All Around


Maggie Schutte

3rd Place – Vault

9th Place – Uneven Bars

3rd Place – Floor

4th Place – All Around


Baylee Arnold

6th Place – Vault

7th Place – Floor

7Th Place – All Around


Isabella Anderson

11th Place – Beam


Mary Farmer

2nd Place – Beam

Tumbling Team Competes at USTA Southern Illinois State

great jobGem City’s tumbling team competed this past Sunday at the USTA Southern Illinois State competition in Highland,Illinois.

This is our biggest tumbling meet of the season with over 900 athletes competing! Our downstate competitors performed well with nearly all qualifying for USTA nationals. Athletes must place 10th or higher to qualify. Find out about individual athlete placement below.

USTA Souther Illinois State Results:

1st – Maggie Schutte, Sub-advanced girls ages 13-14

2nd – Dawson Nash, Advanced boys all ages

3rd – Mick Bramlett, Advanced boys all ages

3rd – Brianna Barnes, Novice girls age 12

6th – Bella Soltwedel, Sub-novice girls ages 13-14

6th – Audrey Kaufman, Novice girls age 10

6th – Reagan Smyser, Sub-novice girls age 10

10th – Emily Lennox, Novice girls age 7

11th – Abbey Redd, sub-novice girls age 7

19th – Jaden Essig, sub-novice girls age 10

28th – Sierra Nash, intermediate girls ages 11-12


Don’t know what this tumbling team thing is? Read more about Gem City’s tumbling team here.

The Value of Evaluation Week

check markIt’s a fun week at Gem City because it’s evaluation week. All this means is that during class instructors will use a standardized list to see what your child has accomplished this session. Should your child meet all the skill standards they will move up to the next level class.

Evaluations are important for a number of reasons. The most important one being that evaluations give your child concrete goals to work toward. The list of skill standards an instructor uses during evaluation week is the same list they use all session to guide their coaching. This means children are very familiar with each skill before evaluation week arrives.

The other reason Gem City uses evaluations is that it allows us to place children in the appropriate class. Nothing is more frustrating than being in a class this is either too difficult or too easy. (This is frustrating for coaches too!) A coach can better emphasize needed skills and efficiently use time if the children in a class all have the same approximate skill level.

Sometimes skills are really close, or a child may “basically” do a skill. Coaches will often comment “Almost” or “Getting close!” on the evaluation sheets in these cases. Some may wonder why we don’t just move the child up a level when this happens and it’s because what coaches are looking for is a mastery of the skills. This means coaches want fluidity, confidence, and consistency when a child does a skill.

If you have questions about your child’s evaluation please feel free to speak with your child’s coach.

April 2013 Newsletter

Our newsletter for April 2013 is packed! You’ll find much sought after information on evaluation week and summer registration. Also, don’t forget our info meeting about cheer tryouts on April 23 at 8 pm. Additionally, attend the Forever Kelton fundraiser being hosted at the gym. It is Friday, April 19 from 6:30-9:30 and costs $15 per child. All proceeds will be used to support NICU research as the St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

April 2013

Tryouts for All Star Cheer Fast Approaching

Informational Meeting

8 pm on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 in the lobby of Gem City Gymnastics & Tumbling

An informational meeting will be held at 8 pm on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 in the lobby of Gem City Gymnastics & Tumbling. We will explain competitive all star cheer, the USASF, and the tryout process. We will also introduce the coaches, learn about practices, and discuss the time commitment and costs. This is all for your information. Attending this meeting in no way requires you to tryout.

It was a little over a year ago when Hope Cernea and I got the green light to start an all star cheer program here at Gem City. For years Hope and I have split the responsibilities of the cheer tumbling classes offered at the gym. We thought it was time for these accomplished athletes to have their due in a competitive arena.

All Star Cheer 2012-2013

All Star Cheer 2012-2013

Hope had experience as a college cheerleader and all star cheer competitor, and I had well… no idea about what to expect exactly. We completed coaching certification through the USASF, watched many YouTube videos, held tryouts, christened the squad the Gem City Outlaws, and got to work. We’ve learned so much—me especially! (The concept of an eight count, for example.)

I’m excited to report that the Gem City Outlaws have far exceeded our expectations with their performance and dedication! (Please note our regular practices during the school year begin every Saturday at 8:30 in the morning, so these kids have sacrificed some sleeping in.) They recently placed 2nd at the Gateway Championship in St. Louis and received an award for best tumbling of all divisions and levels. We could not be prouder of them.

We’re a little teary eyed that our first all star season is coming to a close, but this next year will surely prove to be just as fun. We cannot wait to meet the athletes who decide to tryout for the 2013-2014 season. One Gem City cheer tradition we’ve decided to begin is the adoption of a new team name for each season. We were the Gem City Outlaws for the 2012-2013. We have a few ideas for the next squad, but we’re still ruminating and nothing is settled yet.

We hope to see you at tryouts!

Congratulations Level 6 & 7 Girls at Illinois State Championship!

super_6&7_artworkSMWe are proud of our many level 6 & 7 athletes, who competed at the Super 6 & 7 State meet in St. Charles, Illinois. These athletes were: Hannah Brunier, Lexie Destefane, Olivia Kaufman, Charleigh Koch, Lauren Stupavsky, and Georgia Graham. We are happy to inform you that Olivia Kaufman earned 8th on uneven bars while Charleigh Koch earned 10th place on the floor exercise.

Cheer Places 2nd, Wins Best Tumbling

The Gem City Outlaw cheer squad had a strong 2nd place finish at the Gateway Championship in St. Louis. They competed in the senior level 2 division against four other squads. We were proud of them as this was their first cheer competition ever!

We were especially proud of their award for best tumbling. This is given to the team with the highest average tumbling score of the entire day, which means Gem City out tumbled all other squads, including the level 5 teams.

Keep your eyes out for information in the next couple weeks if you or your child is interested in trying out for next year’s cheer squad!

March Pizza Fun Night

Gem City will host its next pizza fun night on Friday, March 22 from 6:30 to 9:30. There’s even going to be an Easter egg hunt. $12 members, $15 non-members.

*A parent or guardian must be present to sign a waiver.

PFN Easter

Level 4 Girls Finish Strong at St. Louis Classic

Gem City proudly congratulates our level 4 girls on their strong  performance!

Gem City's level 4 gymnastics team receives their trophy at the St. Louis Classic meet. | Photo by Cinda Barnes

Gem City’s level 4 gymnastics team receives their trophy at the St. Louis Classic meet. | Photo by Cinda Barnes

St. Louis Classic logo 2013
We’re so proud of our level 4 team. They earned a 111.75 for 2nd place at the St. Louis Classic this past weekend! They were only beat .55 points. Their performance was exceptional, especially considering the large number of other quality athletes at the meet.

They all really put in the time and hard work need to excel at the gym. Keep up the good work!