Watch intro videos shown in the venue at the 2011 Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup
By Evan Reller
Caitlin Mann's parents, Donna and Terry, got her involved in gymnastics when she was eight years old. The senior at Sahuaro High School now trains with the Tumbleweeds Gymnastics Club in Tucson, Ariz.
Mann, 18, trains for at least four hours a day. Outside of school, training, homework and sleep, she spends her free time with friends.
Her favorite event is the beam but she enjoys the floor exercise as well. Mann has been competing at Level 10 for three years.
"I don't let pressure get to me," Mann said. "If I know I need to hit a routine, I get it. Bad days or an off game are frustrating, but you have to push through it. Those are the times when you get better."
In 2010, Mann came in second in the all-around in the Arizona State Meet. She was also second in the all-around in the Regional Championships and qualified for the Junior Olympic National Championships. In 2011, Mann won the all-around, as well as the vault and balance beam, at the Fiesta Bowl, which qualified her for the 2011 Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup.
Mann hopes to be an NCAA All-American and has committed to Boise State College.
By Kate Guerra
Alyssa Nocella, who lives in Gilbertsville, Pa., is competing in her first year as a Level 10 gymnast. Going against gymnasts who have more experience at that level is her greatest challenge, but with her determination, she is earning her success among them.
Nocella trains at Silvia's Gymnastics with coach Maia Mitova in Zieglerville, Pa., where she started when she was eight years-old. She tied for third in the balance beam at the 2011 Metroplex Challenge. She qualified for the Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup at the 2011 Presidential Classic, where she finished fourth in the all-around and won the floor exercise.
The high school junior has already verbally committed to Bowling Green State University. She takes online courses through 21st Century Cyber Charter School so she can find time for both her studies and gymnastics.
In her spare time, Nocella enjoys hanging out with her friends and going swimming. She loves to shop at stores like Hollister and American Eagle. She is looking forward to competing at the Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup and is excited about her first podium event.
By Kate Guerra
How many high schoolers do you know that look forward to school for the social time? Spending an average of 24 hours per week training in the gym will do that for you. 2010 Junior Olympic national all-around champion Rachel Spicer is an extraordinary junior at Marcus High School in Flower Mound, Texas. She has been a gymnast since she was five years old when her mother enrolled her in a class to see if she would like it.
The 16 year-old's success has attracted attention and earned her a scholarship to the University of Florida. She won the all-around at the Junior Olympic National Championships in 2010 and has won three straight State championships, as well as two consecutive regional titles. She qualified for the Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup at the 2011 Metroplex Challenge, where she was first in the all-around, uneven bars and floor exercise and finished third on vault. Determination is what she feels is her greatest asset to success in gymnastics.
"When I'm competing, I always feel like I go out confident," said Spicer, who lives in Highland Village, Texas. "Going out and knowing that I can do this and not hold anything back."
During her down-time,, Spicer enjoys going to the movies with her friends. Her favorite movie type is comedy, and she absolutely refuses to see anything scary. Spicer has committed to compete for the University of Florida, where she hopes to pursue her passion for math, when she graduates from high school next year.
By Evan Reller
When her mom enrolled her in both dance and gymnastics classes at the age of three, Kiersten Wang learned to love performing, but gymnastics soon took over and became her primary focus.
Now a senior at Palmer Ridge High School in Monument, Colo., Wang, 18, trains at the Colorado Aerials gym. Most days she trains for 4 or 5 hours, but she still manages to keep up with school work and friends.
Although she was out of competition for a year with a broken leg, she came back stronger than ever. In a cast for six months, training for her comeback was especially difficult. Wang persevered, though, and has been competing at level ten for seven years.
"It was tough coming back from my break," Wang said. "No one thought I would be able to compete again. But here I am, it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do."
Wang came in first all-around at Regionals in 2009 and placed at Nationals that same year. In 2010, she came in first all around at State. She was second all-around at Regionals.
In 2012, Kiersten will be a freshman on the gymnastics team at the University of Florida where she hopes to be an all-arounder.
By Evan Reller
Kayla Williams began taking gymnastics classes when she was five years old. She says her favorite event depends on the day, but usually it is the beam.
The 17-year-old from Huntington, W.Va., trains in with the Cincinnati (Ohio) Gymnastics Academy. Williams is a teammate of Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup qualifier Amelia Hundley. The two are close friends, constantly pushing and encouraging one another.
She trains five hours per day. Williams considers her greatest strength to be her power. She says she is not a graceful gymnast, but a powerful one.
Overcoming injuries has been her greatest challenge in recent years, but she has persevered and was all-around champion at the 2009 Junior Olympic Nationals. 2009 was a breakout year for Williams. Following her Junior Olympic success, she moved up to elite and finished fifth in the all-around at the CoverGirl Classic and seventh at the Visa Championships. She also won the U.S. vault title at the Visa Championships and went on to win the vault title at the 2009 World Championships. She became the first U.S. woman to win a world vault gold medal. In 2010, she returned to Level 10 competition.
Williams spends her free time reading and catching up on her sleep. She plans to go to the University of Alabama and compete with their gymnastics team.
By Evan Reller
Michaela Woodford originally hails from Akron, Ohio but currently lives in Gainesville, Fla., where she trains at Sun Country Gymnastics Club. She first discovered the sport at age two-and-half at a Mom & Tots class. Her sister Ellie is also a gymnast.
Aged 17, Woodford is a junior at Bucholz High School. She has learned to budget her time to keep up with school work, often working ahead when she has a spare moment. She is an honor roll student and a member of the Spanish Club at her school.
After overcoming a broken heel, Woodford says her work ethic and determination have been essential. Regaining the strength in her ankle was frustrating and tedious, but she is once again competing at Level 10.
She came in second in the all-around at the 2011 IGI Chicago Style Meet, as well as won the all-around at the Sand Dollar and the Tampa Bay Turners Invitational. In 2010, she was second in the all-around at State.
"The best thing about gymnastics," Woodford said, "is hearing my teammates cheering for me and sticking my landings."
She does a full out dismount on bars and would like to compete in the all-around in college. Woodford has made a verbal commitment to North Carolina State University.
USA Gymnastics is the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of gymnastics in the United States, consistent with the Ted Stevens Olympic & Amateur Sports Act, the Bylaws of the United States Olympic Committee and the International Gymnastics Federation. The mission of USA Gymnastics is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of gymnastics.