A strong 2017 season for Riverside boys

Gymnasts help provide a promising future glimpse

Riverside Gymnastics Academy athletes, pictured from left to right, Kayden McCavic, Steven Stanley and Nick Keilman, await their turn on the floor exercises at a recent meet in Eugene. The boys’ team enjoyed success and built a solid future foundation.           Sarah Smith/Contributed photo


Riverside Gymnastics Academy athletes, pictured from left to right, Kayden McCavic, Steven Stanley and Nick Keilman, await their turn on the floor exercises at a recent meet in Eugene. The boys’ team enjoyed success and built a solid future foundation. Sarah Smith/Contributed photo

For the boys’ gymnastics team in The Dalles, the drive to excel must be core-deep.

The sport itself demands it.

From the sheer strength required to tackle events like the rings and pommel horse, to the goal-oriented scoring system developed by USA Gymnastics, these athletes have been challenged again and again—and they seem to welcome it.

Keone Tactay said he is “Looking forward to seeing the other teams as they compete, learning more about what the judges are looking for.”

It’s a lesson he’s already learning well.

In his first season as a Level 4 gymnast, Tactay has nailed scores mostly in the 9’s and above at meets.

Teammate Steven Stanley voiced a similar view of the challenges the team faces.

“With each meet, we get more experience, and we get a little bit better each time,” Stanley said.

Experience is paying off for Stanley, who scored an impressive 10.2 on the pommel horse at the John Lanz meet in Beaverton last month.

The meet was also a success for Massimo Blanco, who scored a 9.5 on both parallel bars and rings.

High scores are no easy feat in this arena.

In every event, each athlete starts with a score of 9.5.

From there, the judges deduct and add points.

A competitor may earn points by doing exceptionally well in a particular skill, sticking a landing, or including “bonus moves” in his routine.

For example, every Level 4 floor routine already includes a roundoff, but by performing a back handspring, the competitor gains bonus points.

In Level 5, instead of the required back handspring, the competitor may perform two back handsprings to gain the points.

But first, the skills must be learned.

And that’s where the team’s base strategy comes in: work hard during practice.

According to Coach Peggy Casady, that’s exactly what they’ve been doing.

“These young men put in large amounts of physical effort every practice,” Casady said. “All of the boys are working really hard at refining their form and skills.”

Along with Casady, the boys’ team is led by Coach Brent Cyphers, while Level 6 team-member Nick Keilman coaches recreation classes for boys.

The time these dedicated staff members have invested in the boys’ program at Riverside is producing results.

“This season, we have four new additions to our team, and almost everyone is competing at a new level,” Casady explained.

Of the eight boys on the team, five are in Level 4, one is in Level 5, and two are in Level 6.

In spite of the extra degree of difficulty that comes with a recent move to the next level, the athletes from The Dalles are proving they have what it takes to hold their own.

At the Arctic Rush meet in Eugene, the Level 4 team earned a place among the top three teams at the meet.

It was a good day for the team and a good day for Felix Booth, who scored an 8.7 on vault.

The Level 4 team excelled once more at the MAC Open meet in Portland, taking home a third place trophy against some pretty stiff competition.

Riverside was the only team from Oregon at the ICFCoaches Cup in Kent, Washington, where Alex Lee-Valkov scored a 9.4 on rings and Nick Keilman scored a 9.8 on high bar.

“For my first season competing as a Level 6, I feel it is going well,” Keilman stated.

At the Vega Challenge meet in Vancouver, Kayden McCavic earned an impressive 10.2 on floor, and Milo Huntington followed that up with a whopping 10.7 score on pommel horse.

“I am proud of my athletes,” Coach Casady said of his squad. “These guys work hard.”

Riverside Gymnastics is a nonprofit organization with recreational and competitive programs for boys and girls.

For more information, go to www.riverside-gym.org or call 541-993-8625 or visit the gym at 2221 River Road, The Dalles.

From the sheer strength required to tackle events like the rings and pommel horse, to the goal-oriented scoring system developed by USA Gymnastics, these athletes have been challenged again and again—and they seem to welcome it.

Keone Tactay said he is “Looking forward to seeing the other teams as they compete, learning more about what the judges are looking for.”

It’s a lesson he’s already learning well.

In his first season as a Level 4 gymnast, Tactay has nailed scores mostly in the 9’s and above at meets.

Teammate Steven Stanley voiced a similar view of the challenges the team faces.

“With each meet, we get more experience, and we get a little bit better each time,” Stanley said.

Experience is paying off for Stanley, who scored an impressive 10.2 on the pommel horse at the John Lanz meet in Beaverton last month.

The meet was also a success for Massimo Blanco, who scored a 9.5 on both parallel bars and rings.

High scores are no easy feat in this arena.

In every event, each athlete starts with a score of 9.5.

From there, the judges deduct and add points.

A competitor may earn points by doing exceptionally well in a particular skill, sticking a landing, or including “bonus moves” in his routine.

For example, every Level 4 floor routine already includes a roundoff, but by performing a back handspring, the competitor gains bonus points.

In Level 5, instead of the required back handspring, the competitor may perform two back handsprings to gain the points.

But first, the skills must be learned.

And that’s where the team’s base strategy comes in: work hard during practice.

According to Coach Peggy Casady, that’s exactly what they’ve been doing.

“These young men put in large amounts of physical effort every practice,” Casady said. “All of the boys are working really hard at refining their form and skills.”

Along with Casady, the boys’ team is led by Coach Brent Cyphers, while Level 6 team-member Nick Keilman coaches recreation classes for boys.

The time these dedicated staff members have invested in the boys’ program at Riverside is producing results.

“This season, we have four new additions to our team, and almost everyone is competing at a new level,” Casady explained.

Of the eight boys on the team, five are in Level 4, one is in Level 5, and two are in Level 6.

In spite of the extra degree of difficulty that comes with a recent move to the next level, the athletes from The Dalles are proving they have what it takes to hold their own.

At the Arctic Rush meet in Eugene, the Level 4 team earned a place among the top three teams at the meet.

It was a good day for the team and a good day for Felix Booth, who scored an 8.7 on vault.

The Level 4 team excelled once more at the MAC Open meet in Portland, taking home a third place trophy against some pretty stiff competition.

Riverside was the only team from Oregon at the ICFCoaches Cup in Kent, Washington, where Alex Lee-Valkov scored a 9.4 on rings and Nick Keilman scored a 9.8 on high bar.

“For my first season competing as a Level 6, I feel it is going well,” Keilman stated.

At the Vega Challenge meet in Vancouver, Kayden McCavic earned an impressive 10.2 on floor, and Milo Huntington followed that up with a whopping 10.7 score on pommel horse.

“I am proud of my athletes,” Coach Casady said of his squad. “These guys work hard.”

Riverside Gymnastics is a nonprofit organization with recreational and competitive programs for boys and girls.

For more information, go to www.riverside-gym.org or call 541-993-8625 or visit the gym at 2221 River Road, The Dalles.

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