Ryan Dietzman and Trace Jacquot are destined for the Junior Olympic Men’s National Gymnastics Championships May 7 to 11, in Long Beach, Calif.
They say this journey would not be possible without coach Zdravko Stoianov and the Vancouver Elite Gymnastics Academy, in Camas.
“My mindset is to do it for myself, my coach and for VEGA as a whole,” said Dietzman, a Level 10 gymnast from Camas.
“As much as this is an individual experience, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for VEGA,” said Jacquot, a Level 10 gymnast from Hockinson. “We made a name for this place at state and regionals, and we want to make a bigger one at nationals.”
Dietzman sprang into a tie for first place on the vault with a score of 13.2 in the regional championship meet April 12, at Lewis & Clark College, in Portland, Ore.
“My form throughout the entire vault was better, and so was my landing,” Dietzman said. “It was one of the cleanest vaults I’ve done all season.”
“And one of the highest, too,” Jacquot added.
Dietzman also tied for sixth place on the pommel horse (12.4). He will compete in both of these events at nationals.
“I had never been on the podium for pommel. It’s always been one of my worst events,” Dietzman said. “I just told myself, ‘it’s region. I’m going to go for it. If I fall down, who cares.’ I calmed myself down and stayed on the whole time.”
“That’s the mindset you need to have going into it,” Jacquot said. “Pommel horse takes everything you got.”
Jacquot finished in fifth place in the all-around competition with a combined score of 73.85 points. He earned fourth on the parallel bars (12.9), fifth on the vault (12.8), sixth on the rings (11.65), seventh on the high bar (11.85), eighth on the floor (12.85) and 12th on the pommel horse (11.8).
“I didn’t have the best meet, but I persevered through all the obstacles and I’m going back to nationals for the second year in a row,” Jacquot said. “I’ve improved so much this season, and I’m excited to show everybody what I have to offer.”
Dietzman and Jacquot will be high school seniors next season. Coach Stoianov said competing on a national stage should give them the tools they need to thrive in the future.
“Both kids worked very hard for this opportunity,” Stoianov said. “They are also going to gain exposure from college coaches, which is the next step.”
The VEGA academy also continues to gain notoriety for its athletes, coaches and volunteers. Five out of five chairmen voted for VEGA to host the regional championships April 10 to 12, 2015, at the Clark County Fairgrounds.
“We received very positive feedback from judges and coaches at state,” Stoianov said. “That is what has given us this opportunity to host a regional meet.”
With lots to look forward to in the future, Dietzman and Jacquot are determined to make their moment in California count.
“Making it to region is good, but getting to nationals is times that by 100,” Dietzman said. “It’s like 45 more states.”
“We put a lot of effort, a lot of time, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears into gymnastics,” Jacquot said. “For all of it to pay off in this way is definitely a good feeling.”