Aspen Gymnastics vaults into the forefront |

Aspen Gymnastics vaults into the forefront

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Morgan Leasure of Aspen Gymnastics shows her form at a recent competition. She advanced all the way to Western Nationals this season.
Justin Klinksick / Special to The Aspen Times |

Aspen Gymnastics is vaulting back into the forefront.

Three members of Aspen Gymnastics competed recently in the upper levels of USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Program.

The trio, along with other junior gymnasts, will present a special gymnastics exhibition at 5 p.m. Friday at the Red Brick gymnasium/gymnastics center.

The public is invited to the Friday program to watch the championship gymnasts and learn more about Aspen Gymnastics.

“The demonstration is for all levels in our program,” said Aspen Gymnastics director John Bakken. “The team will be part of the demonstration.”

He said the trio of Aspen Gymnastics members who competed recently in the Junior Olympic Program are Madison Cheo (17), Dominique Rosa (15) and Morgan Leasure (14).

Cheo, competing in her first season as a level 9, had her season cut short by an injury.

But she still qualified for the Colorado Level 9 State Championships with results from her three meets. She will return next year as a level 9 gymnast for Aspen Gymnastics.

Bakken said that Rosa, competing in her first year at level 8, qualified to move on to regional competition after her showing in the Colorado State Gymnastics Meet.

“Dominique had a great meet at the regional championships held in Dallas in April with two top-10 finishes,” Bakken said. She was fifth on bars and seventh in the floor exercise.

The highlight of the season, he said, came from Morgan Leasure.

“Morgan really came through this year,” Bakken said. “She qualified through to the western regionals (at level 9). Qualifying through to the western regionals is a pretty big deal. She was the only Colorado gymnast in her age group to qualify.”

Bakken said Texas is a hotbed for gymnastics, and the Colorado gymnasts must compete against the Texas competitors at the regional level.

“In order to make it out of that region, you have to be really consistent. You have to hit all four events,” Bakken said. “She hit all of her events.”

At the qualifying state championships, Leasure finished as the state champion on beam.

Her all-around score qualified her to the Regional Level 9 meet in Wichita, Kansas.

At regionals, she was one of seven qualifiers to move through.

Leasure went on to win the regional title on the beam and finished fifth in the all-around. She then had a chance to compete as a member of the Region 3 Team at the Western Nationals two weeks ago in Spokane, Washington.

Her region team placed second in the team event.

Leasure also had one top-10 finish, Bakken said, with a 10th on bars in Spokane.

He said that in a practice-intensive sport like gymnastics, Leasure excels under the pressure of competition.

“Morgan … has that rare ability to rise to the occasion,” he said of the 14-year-old.

He said Aspen Gymnastics also had one boy competing this year. Two others are training with the team.

“Donovan Bronstein, 14, competed at level 7,” Bakken said. “He was fourth in the all-around at the state championship.”

He also qualified for regionals.

“And there are a couple of other boys who train with him,” Bakken said. They are Connor Ding and Joshua Uhlfelder.

“They’re training and working hard,” he said.


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