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Rockdale Gymnastics hosting Nationals
Next year's competition will be held in Savannah

CONYERS - Coaches and gymnasts at Rockdale Gymnastics have had a busy summer.

Not only has the group just returned from competing in this year's AAU National Gymnastics Championships, but they will also be hosting next year's AAU championships in Savannah.

"We just returned from the AAU National Gymnastics Championships in Orlando. We had eight gymnasts compete down there and most of them had a really good meet," Rockdale coach Drew Davis said. "About 1,200 to 1,400 girls, or 125 teams, were competing from around the country. Next June, we'll be hosting the AAU National Gymnastic Championships in Savannah at the Savannah Civic Center. Our goal is to have 2,000 gymnasts at the meet down there. With so much history there and fun things for families to do, we feel we'll have a really good draw."

Davis said Rockdale Gymnastics competed with others for the rights to host the event, and after a long and tedious bidding process, the school was awarded the rights to host the event at the Savannah Civic Center.

"There were other cities that bid on it and we won the bid. We bid on it using Savannah as our site," Davis said. "I went down to Savannah and looked at the site and talked to the people, and they are wonderful people to work with. I wanted to have it in a fun resort type of town and we thought about a few other places, but Savannah was by far the best choice.

"We had to do a lot of long-term planning. There was a $5,000 bid fee just to get into the bidding game. One of the officials flew into Savannah and I gave him the site tour. The fact that we won the bid really says a lot about the city. Rockdale Gymnastics also has lot of history of running good gymnastics meets, so that played into it as well. We do a lot of competitions and we have our two big competitions down in Hilton Head every year. We have about 1,000 kids there competing down there every year, so they realize that we're used to big competitions like this."

Last month, Rockdale Gymnastics took eight gymnasts to compete in this year's AAU championships, and the results were solid.

Christi Smith, 11, took first in the all-around competition in her age group with a 36.85. Smith captured the gold medal in the bars with a 9.47 and won three bronze medals in the vault (8.9), beam (9.0) and floor (9.475).

Alexandra Zahand took third in the all-around in the same age group with a 35.675. She won two bronze medals in the vault (8.9) and bars (8.8).

Kristy Ammons and Audrey Davis both took second in all-around in a sub-divided 12-year-old age group. Ammons finished with a 36.15 after winning gold in the vault (9.225) and beam (9.45), and silver on the floor (9.225).

Davis finished with a 35.625 after taking bronze in the vault (8.925) and bars (8.5), and silver on the beam (9.125).

Annie Sibley, 12, placed fifth in the all-around competition with a 34.35. She captured gold in the vault with a 9.0.

Abigail Compton, 13, placed third in the all-around in her age group with a 36.15. She captured two silver medals in the vault (8.95) and beam (9.25).

Bethany Blount, 13, placed third in the all-around with a 35.55. She notched a bronze medal on the beam with a 9.125.

McKenzie Crowe, 13, also had a solid showing, winning two gold medals and a silver. She won gold in the vault (9.1) and floor (9.425), and took the silver on the bars (9.05).

Brandon Evans can be reached at brandon.evans @rockdalecitizen.com.