Franklin Regional freshman wins gymnastics title

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Friday, April 20, 2018 | 11:00 PM


With a large crowd ready to watch her perform, Reyna Vance felt nervous before her biggest gymnastics event of the year, the Region 7 finals.

To counteract the pressure she envisioned herself at practice in her home gym.

“I tried to think that no one was there and that I was just in front of my coach,” Vance said. “I tried to act like nobody was watching me. My biggest fear was messing up in front of all of those people.”

Vance, a freshman at Franklin Regional, may have pretended that no one was watching, but those who were in attendance saw her turn in a championship performance.

She placed first in bars and floor en route to the overall title in the Level 8, Senior 6 division at the Region 7 finals, which were held April 6-8 in Hampton, Va.

Vance's all-around score of 37.625 was a personal best for her in Level 8 and was .400 points better than second place. In bars, Vance scored 9.700, and in floor she finished with a 9.375. She took second in floor with a 9.400 and tied for seventh on vault with a 9.200. Vance topped a field of 30 gymnasts who hailed from six states: Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, West Virginia and Delaware.

After finishing seventh at regionals a year ago, Vance was thrilled and surprised she finished on the top step of the podium.

“Honestly, I didn't expect to score that well. I thought maybe I would've placed third or fourth, which I was fine with, but whenever I heard that I got first I was really excited,” Vance said. “I felt like all my hard work paid off. Everyone was clapping, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that's me' when they called my name. It was pretty cool.”

The regional win concluded a strong year for Vance, which included an all-around victory at the PA State Finals in Gettysburg. She won the bars and beam titles at states.

Vance trains at Gymkhana Gymnastics in Plum with coach Ryan Schulz and her staff and competes with the gym's travel team. She's been with Gymkhana for five years and credits her coaches with helping her achieve success and her parents for taking her to meets, many of which were out of state.

Vance has been in gymnastics for 10 years. She described herself as an active kid, and after advice from a friend, she found the sport.

“There was a gym about two minutes down the road from my house, and a neighbor recommended it to my parents,” Vance said. “I tried gymnastics out and enjoyed it, so I stuck with it.”

Regionals concluded Vance's season, and she will spend the summer at Gymkahna preparing to move up to a Level 9 gymnast for her sophomore year.

She hopes to receive a scholarship for gymnastics from a Division I college.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer.

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