Gymnastics program catching on

Tessa Jackson prepares to dismount from the uneven bars. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Tessa Jackson prepares to dismount from the uneven bars.

Not long ago, the sport of gymnastics was little more than afterthought in the Cortez area.

Yes, local residents enjoyed watching the high-flying sport on television, but as far as participation at the local level, opportunities were nonexistent.

Thanks to Stormy’s Gymnastics however, the longtime Olympic sport is quickly gaining a foothold.

Fast-growing program

Founded three years ago by longtime gymnastics coach Reyna Hale, Stormy’s Gymnastics is, in many ways, a one of a kind program.

Designed to introduce young people to the sport of gymnastics, Stormy’s hosts a variety of classes, which include male and female gymnasts between the ages of 2 and 17.

Classes focus on teaching young athletes fundamental skills that allow them to succeed in beam, bars, vault and floor events.

In addition to the tumbling and dance skills, young athletes participating in Stormy’s classes develop balance and coordination, which, according to Hale, serve them well in later years.

“Gymnastics is the basis of any sport,” said Hale, who previously coached gymnastics in Telluride for 16 years. “It teaches you to do everything that your body is not supposed to do, so you can apply it to any sport.”

Local exhibition

Hoping to showcase the skills of local gymnasts while exposing residents to the nature of competitive gymnastics, Stormy’s played host to a gymnastics exhibition on March 29.

Held at the Cortez Recreation Center, the exhibition included 21 gymnasts from Cortez and 26 gymnasts from Telluride, who compete on a travelling team.

A rousing success, the event attracted more than 125 spectators, most of who clearly enjoyed the one-of-a-kind event.

“I think it went great,” said Hale of the exhibition. “The Cortez kids, they just had the time of their lives.”

An eye toward the future

While Stormy’s plans to serve the Cortez community’s recreational gymnastics needs, steps are being taken to one day found a competitive team.

In the event that a competitive team was created, local gymnasts would be provided with an opportunity to travel to competitions.

“I’ve decided to start building relationships with Durango and Telluride’s gymnastics teams,” said Hale. “We may start a recreational competitive program and go from there.”

Asked whether Stormy’s could one day move into its own building, Hale expressed excitement at the possibility.

“Someday, in the Cortez community, we can support a gymnastics gym, so that’s in the future,” said Hale.

For now however, Stormy’s plans to continue offering classes at the Cortez Recreation Center in hopes of aiding young gymnasts in their athletic development.

Spring Sky leaps on the balance beam. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Spring Sky leaps on the balance beam.