MENDOTA – U.S. Tumbling Association athlete Lauren Martin of Mendota took the state championship in her age level for her floor power tumbling routine. Additionally, her top 10 state placement earned her a spot in all three events of floor tumbling, trampoline, and double-mini trampoline at the national competition in Ft. Lauderdale Fla., in June. At the national competition, she went on to acquire top 10 honors in two of her three events by placing first in her flight for the floor tumbling and seventh out of 50 national athletes, first in her flight on the double-mini and fifth place overall out of 42 athletes, and seventh in her flight and 23rd overall on the trampoline.
At the competitions, athletes can compete on a tumbling spring rod floor, a trampoline, and a double-mini trampoline. Power tumbling is an acrobatic discipline that is separated by age, sex and expertise level. The trampoline consists of one routine of 10 skills (contacts) with the bed of the 17x10 foot trampoline. The double-mini trampoline, with its slanted mounting bed and the horizontal dismount, requires the athlete to run onto the trampoline, show one skill on the apparatus followed by another onto a landing mat. The skill-set is similar to that used in springboard diving and was actually invented to help divers hone their diving skills. The competitions require precise form and control of body movements to achieve optimum scores. A team of judges critiques the variety of skill elements, level of difficulty, continuous flow of routine, detailed form, execution, and dismount or landing.
The United States Tumbling Association is over 30 years old and was founded in 1971 by Larry Grisworld and George Nissen, the founder of the trampoline. The U.S.T.A. began with only about 200 members that competed in only one division of competition. Currently, it is divided into nine divisions for tumbling and six divisions for the double-mini and the trampoline. The first Nationals competition had approximately 250 athletes and now the largest Nationals had almost 2,200 athletes in 5,000 events. The U.S.T.A. is proud to say they have grown to almost 6,000 members currently. The U.S.T.A. is an allied member of the A.A.U. (Amateur Athletic Union) for the last 10 years.
Martin is the 9-year old daughter of Todd and Colleen Martin of Mendota and competes with the Illinois Valley Tumbling & Trampoline team at the Illinois Valley YMCA in Peru, and is under the direction of head coach Jessica Brucki. The IVTT group has over 30 members that compete ranging in age from 3 to 18.