Four athletes and their coach are experiencing something special in this year’s competition season. The end destination for their journey — St. Petersburg, Russia. KPTC athletes Aubrey Beyers, Jillian Jones-Pschirrer, Reese Nichols, Micah Miner and coach Trey Katz all head to the 2018 Trampoline and Tumbling World Age Group Competition in hopes to cap off this storybook season. To represent Team USA for this prestigious event, a gymnast must rank inside the top four in the USA for their respective event, age and gender across three selection competitions throughout the year.
Jones-Pschirrer is 11 and is from Mattoon. After soaring through the levels at a rapid pace, competing at worlds has always been on her mind. She started this season out recovering from an Achilles injury that forced a slow start to the qualifying process for 2018. This slow start meant she needed to mobilize from Level 10 to Youth elite at the first meet, qualify to nationals at the regional championships in her new level, then proceed to hit 100 percent of her routines the rest of the year. She did just that. Her two silver medal performances at the Elite Challenge in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, sealed the deal and had her packing for Russia.
Reese Nichols is 11 and from Findlay. She started the year off with a bang. She acquired new skills and routines that took her scoring potential to another level compared to most of the other competitors. One new skill in particular (a double back straight) would bring the biggest victories at the beginning of the season. This new pass on double mini trampoline was the go-to and the one that scored higher than any other to give her the edge she needed. At some point in training, Nichols had developed what is known as a mental block on landing this skill. After a few bad landings, she found herself not being able to land the double straight on her feet for several weeks leading into the biggest competition of her life, the National Championships. Due to her first-place finishes at previous competitions, all she needed to do to secure her spot on Team USA was to land on her feet at nationals. Not only did she land on her feet, she stuck that skill that had given her trouble and won the gold medal in North Carolina to earn her spot on the WAG team.
Micah Miner is 11 and is from Glen Carbon and Aubrey Beyers is 17 and from Pana.
Coach Trey Katz is from Charleston. Through the experience of his own 17-year athletic career in trampoline and tumbling, he has coached for the past nine years in hopes of qualifying athletes to compete internationally. It all came full circle when Trey was named to be a coach for the 2018 WAGC team. In 2009, at 15 years old, he started his international career by competing at his first ever world competition. Nine years later, from first time going to worlds as an athlete to the first time taking his athletes as a team USA coach.
The four athletes and their coach will start their journey to Russia on Nov. 11. They will compete November 15-18 and hope to continue their success overseas. As exciting as this is, there are also costs involved and each family has been trying their best to raise the funds to make it possible for their child to live out their dreams. Any person or business wishing to donate to the team can do so by mailing a check to 804 Park Place, Shelbyville, Illinois, 62565.