COTTONWOOD - Enrollment at Flip City gymnastics in Cottonwood recently reached an all-time high; they currently have 160 gymnasts training.
"It's all because of the Olympics," said Flip City director Dianna Upham. "I've actually done less advertising lately, we're growing through word of mouth and the fact that little girls want to be like the girls on TV."
Those little girls also want to be like the talented homegrown teenage and tween athletes Flip City has produced like Aleonna Sanchez, Anna Furrey, Andrea Sims, Katelyn Prouty, Adriannna Moody . . . the list of aspiring local gymnasts goes on.
"Our little ones come here and see the older ones performing high-level moves, and that's who they want to be. I'm so proud of the older girls because they've done it with no one local to inspire them the same way. We've come a long way," said Upham.
Flip City collectively set a goal to garner college scholarships for their best gymnasts, and they're still very much on track to do that.
Mingus freshman Aleonna Sanchez has a great shot to do it, she's level 8 at age 14, but Upham said she believes many of her girls can do it, not just Sanchez.
"We're planning to finish out this season with Aleonna at level 8, and train for 9 and 10 next year. That's when we'll take her to meets where she'll be seen by college coaches," said Upham. "Anna Furrey will be a senior next year. I think it's possible she could get a scholarship as a specialist on vault. Andrea Sims has great ability on floor and beam. Lexi Harmelink isn't far behind. I truly believe that all of our girls can make it if they really want it."
Coach Jared Cummins feels the same way.
"100 percent of them can do it, but it's up to them," said Cummins. "If they want to set that goal and strive for it, I believe they can do it. Some of them don't have that goal, some of them are setting goals to get academic scholarships to prestigious colleges, and I think they can do that too. I'm continually amazed by these girls everyday."
All the Flip City coaches have to work harder as enrollment increases, but the girls are committed to improving, and that make coaching easier.
"It has been crazy in here with the amount of girls training, but in a good way," said Cummins. "Busy is better than board, and it's been a pleasure to work with these girls. Our upper-level kids are booming, doing very well now, and they get to show off to the younger ones. The younger ones have older role models to look up to, so it's a really cool dynamic."
If you're interested in Flip City, check out www.flipcitygym.org.