Region 3 wins second-consecutive title at 2019 Elite Team Cup
posted on 03/02/2019

© John Cheng

By Tim Nash

Region 3 may have won its second straight men’s Elite Team Cup Saturday night, but coach Tom Meadows is looking over his shoulder more and more these days.

“The level of gymnastics is getting higher and higher all over the country,” said Meadows. “Everybody is good now. When you come to these competitions, anything can happen.”

The quality of competition among USA Gymnastics’ nine regions has made winning the Elite Team Cup more special, said Meadows.

Region 3 (Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas) tallied 325.150, edging out Region 1 (Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada), who scored 321.950. Region 8 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee) was third

On its way to the title, Region 3 posted the high scores in four of the six disciplines – floor, pommel horse, rings, and vault.

“This was a fun one. We have had some good success at this meet over the years,” said Meadows. “Region 3 has had very good teams, and we have another good team this year.

“But the other regions have gotten really, really good. Region 1 gave us a run for our money. They are an awesome group. It was a tense, great struggle, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

J.R. Chou is one of three members of the Region 3 championship team that won the event last year. Chou, who will attend Stanford next fall, believes the team’s camaraderie has played a large role in the group’s success.

“I don’t know about other regions, but it would be incredibly hard to be as close as we are,” said Chou. “I think that team bond really helps us at meets when things are getting tough.”

Chou said he will miss participating in the Elite Team Cup next year.

“This is one of my favorite events,” he said. “To come out here with my brothers in my region and compete is amazing. To win it one more time before I go away to college is incredible.”

Meadows is sure the talented athletes on future Region 3 teams will buy into the culture that has been created and fine-tuned over the years.

“We are very deep,” he said. “We are excited about what is happening now, but we are also very excited about the future. We are a close-knit group. We don’t put anyone above anyone else. And when we see each other at individual competitions, we support and help each other. Our coaches work together, and our athletes work together.”