By Maddie Joiner
For the Opelika Observer
Opelika Power Athletics sent three young gymnasts to compete at nationals in Sandy, Utah last week. Olivia Battle, Ka’Liyah Hughley and Haiden Hamilton qualified for nationals and represented Opelika at the Stars and Stripes Championships for trampoline and tumbling.
All three gymnasts qualified for nationals after winning state titles and then placing in their age division at regionals, where seven other states were competing.
Battle competed in the 9 and 10 age group, while Hughley and Hamilton competed in the 11 and 12 group.
All three athletes placed in their flights at nationals, with a single flight being around 10 to 15 athletes. Hamilton medaled and took sixth place out of 20 competing in the male division. Battle and Hughley placed around the halfway point of 70 female athletes, with Battle finishing No. 38 and Hughley finishing No. 34.
Opelika Power Athletics director Tiffany Chandler is beyond proud of her young athletes and what they accomplished at the national level.
“It’s phenomenal,” Chandler said. “It shows what our youth can do today at such a young age. It shows the younger athletes in our facility what they are capable of and that dreams do come true.”
All three athletes put in almost two months of additional practices to prepare for nationals, as regionals finished back in May. The rest of the athletes at Opelika Power Athletics were finished for the season, but Battle, Hughley and Hamilton spent their time perfecting routines and cleaning up their form.
“It shows the discipline and the commitment to everyone, not even just inside the gym, but also outside the gym; the discipline and commitment that they have for their sport. I think that’s something that our world today needs more of,” Chandler said.
Opelika Power Athletics is an Opelika Parks and Rec facility for gymnastics, cheer and tumbling. They offer recreational programs as well as competitive programs starting as soon as a child can walk to 18 years old.
The gym houses around 350 athletes, with around 260 of them being recreational. The recreational programs are set up in eight-week sessions, with athletes coming in one day a week for an hour. Recreation classes range from beginner to advanced.
Once an athlete reaches a more advanced level, the gym encourages them to move to the competitive side of the gym. The competitive side is a year-long commitment, with athletes signing contracts before joining a team. Since the competitive side is more advanced, athletes must have prior trampoline or tumbling training.
Registration for the fall sessions at Opelika Power Athletics opens July 26, with the session starting August 9. All information regarding classes offered, times and prices can be found on the Opelika Parks and Rec website at www.opelika-al.gov/341/Parks-Recreation. There, you will find the Park Bench Activity guide that has all the Opelika Power Athletics’ classes listed.
If you have any additional questions, you can also email Tiffany Chandler at firstname.lastname@example.org.