Castle Pines boasts its own Junior Olympic gymnast
By Celeste McNeil; photos courtesy of Josh Trent
Madeline Trent aims high. The Buffalo Ridge Elementary (BRE) fourth grader enjoys all the typical activities 9 year olds do. Like many girls, Madeline enjoys gymnastics, but unlike most, she practices 18 hours a week. She is part of the USA Gymnastics development program, previously called the Junior Olympic program.
The USA Gymnastics development program consists of levels 1-10. The first three levels do not expect competition and can function as recreational and skill-building, while levels 4 through 10 require more progressive skills and gymnasts will compete at state, regional or national meets. The development program’s goal is to build solid foundational skills to promote safe advancement to the collegiate or Olympic level if the gymnast chooses to pursue the sport that far.
Madeline began gymnastics when she was 5 years old at a YMCA. “Her toddler coach recognized her skill and passion for the sport and recommended Madeline for the Junior Olympic program,” said Madeline’s dad, Josh. Four years later, Madeline is competing at level 7, including three or four out-of-state meets against other national competitors.
Madeline trains and competes in “all around gymnastics” meaning she focuses on four different events – floor, beam, vault, and bars. Her heavy practice schedule necessitates she leave school early three days a week. Still, Madeline finds balance between school, gymnastics and being a kid. “Her time management skills are exceptional,” her dad said. “She reads and finishes homework in the car to and from the gym so that she has extra time to spend with family and friends.”
Madeline has big plans for her future, with academics and gymnastics playing equal roles. Her dad explained her internal drive to succeed, “she works extremely hard to exceed expectations in school and gymnastics.” Madeline has a personal goal to participate in a Division I collegiate gymnastics program. She’s already dreaming about joining the Denver University Pioneers gymnastic team. Competing in the Olympics is also on her gymnastic wish list.
When Madeline isn’t in school or in the gym, she enjoys spending time with friends, reading or drawing. She also enjoys other physical activities like paddleboarding and playing lacrosse with her older brother.