Two Maui gymnasts from Valley Isle Gymnastics claimed All Around State Champions trophies at the Hawaii State Championship held at the Kona Aerials Gymastics in Kealakekua on the Big Island. Shyanne Sheldon of Kihei emerged as the All Around gold medalist, vault silver medalist, balance beam silver medalist and floor exercise silver medalist for the Level 4A division (nine-year-olds). Shyanne’s all around score was the second highest of the entire meet, regardless of age division.
Makena Derby of Kaupo emerged as the All Around gold medalist, uneven bars gold medalist, and floor exercise gold medalist, and balance beam bronze medalist for the Level 4 division (11-year-olds).
Valley Isle Gymnastics (VIG) has placed once previously in the State Championships. That was in in 2007 when Austin Howlett swept the gold medals in all six men’s apparatuses. This is the first time for the female gymnasts.
“That weekend, when I heard the entire audience erupt in a deafening ovation for these anonymous underdogs from Maui,” says coach and owner Rusty Gage, “I’ll be the first to admit I got teary eyed. It was so heart-warming to watch these happy young ladies receive pseudo-celebrity like recognition for their innocently being who they truly are.”
There are gold medalists for each age group within each level. This competition was for Levels 4, 5 and 6 gymnasts. Sheldon has been training at VIG for almost three years while Derby has been at the gym for over two years. Coach Ajja DeShayne trains gymnasts at VIG from Busy Baby (ages 8 months) to Level 6.
“Competing at state championships is a privilege, and what I love about having a culminating competition is that the absolute best is coming out of these of the athletes, regardless of their placement that day,” says DeShayne. “Before hard training time, effort goes up a notch, and then during competition there is such a sweet sense that anything is possible. As a coach I get to see them rise to the potential I have been seeing in them from the beginning of the training season.”
The team wouldn’t attend inter-island competitions without the motivation and resourcefulness of the parents of the athletes and the initiative of Shannon Sheldon. Sheldon has spearheaded fundraising efforts from holding a dinner evening at Stella Blues to seeking donations from individuals and businesses.
“One overnight meet can set a family back as much as $1,000 simply because of travel and accommodation costs,” says Gage. “We’re working on seeking out more local businesses and individuals who see what we do at VIG, understand the values we present and reinforce with the young people we influence, and are willing to donate financially toward supporting that end. In this generation of entitlement, I believe there’s nothing more important we can do with our future leaders than teach them the value of a strong work ethic. I can think of few sports that require a higher work ethic than that of competitive gymnastics.”
Valley Isle Gymnastics athletes also receiving high ranking medals were Kiara Soledade, silver medal vaulter for the 9 year old Level 4B division and Kristina Goetz, silver medal winner on vault and uneven bars for the 12 year old Level 4 division. Valley Isle Gymnastics will be attending its next competition in January on Oahu.
Following are all the scores and rankings from all Valley Isle Gymnastics athletes who attended the Hawaii State Championships:
9.70 vault (2nd place), 8.975 bars (5th place), 9.525 beam (2nd place), 9.175 floor(2nd place), 37.375 all-around (1st place)
9.45 vault (2nd place), 8.65 bars (6th place), 8.45 beam (7th place), 8.875 floor (5th place), 35.425 all-around (5th place)
9.20 vault (6th place), 9.10 bars (1st place tie), 8.95 beam (3rd place), 9.025 floor (1st place), 36.275 all-around (1st place)
9.375 vault (2nd place), 9.125 bars (2nd place), 8.825 beam (4th place), 8.075 floor (5th place), 35.40 all-around (5th place)
9.075 vault (4th place), 7.325 bars (10th place), 8.375 beam (11th place), 8.125 (8th place), 32.90 all-around (10th place)
9.20 vault (5th place tie), 6.40 bars (12th place), 8.60 beam (11th place), 8.225 floor
(10th place), 32.425 (11th place).