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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Saints' gymnastics leader is a late bloomer in sport

By Blake Sebring of The News-Sentinel<br /> <br /> Along with being the only senior on the team, Bishop Dwenger gymnast Amy Weilbaker is one of the area's top performers in the floor exercise. 
By Blake Sebring of The News-Sentinel

Along with being the only senior on the team, Bishop Dwenger gymnast Amy Weilbaker is one of the area's top performers in the floor exercise. 
Amy Weilbaker
Amy Weilbaker
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Concordia Sectional starts at Noon Saturday

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 pm
When the Concordia Sectional for girls gymnastics starts Saturday afternoon, Bishop Dwenger's Amy Weilbaker will be one of the favorites in the vault as the Saints try to win the title for the 10th consecutive year. But Weilbaker has been a full-time gymnast for less than three years.

After trying gymnastics for a month as a sixth grader, Weilbaker started her high school career as a cheerleader before deciding as a sophomore to go out for the gymnastics team.

"Cheerleading is one thing but gymnastics is another so you have to kind of convert the cheerleading into gymnastics stuff," Saints coach Rose Nix said. "We've had more gymnastics convert to cheerleading because gymnastics is hard, but she was a quick learner. She has a lot of talent. She's pretty amazing."

Weilbaker continues as a cheerleader which she wants to pursue in college. She's also a 4.0 student. How does she manage all that?

"I don't," she said with a laugh. "I drink lots of coffee."

Cheerleading and gymnastics share some similarities with dancing and tumbling, which help on floor routines, but they are simplistic similarities.

"The dance and the scoring are completely different," Weilbaker said. "Sometimes I still have to ask some freshmen and sophomores how to flick my wrist and put my head up. They are still giving me pointers."

Weilbaker has scored a 9.5 on the floor this season. She concentrates on the floor exercise and vault, though Nix thinks Weilbaker could do very well on the balance beam if she had time and the Saints needed her there. It was just easier and quicker to learn by focusing on two events, and now she's an exceptional vaulter.

"I've always been kind of scared of vault, but every time I do it, it's like pushing myself and it's the best experience to see myself progress, especially when it's something I only picked up two years ago," she said. "It gives me a sense of accomplishment."

No. 5 Bishop Dwenger, No. 7 Homestead, No. 9 Carroll and No. 14 Concordia will be trying for the three spots which will advance to the Huntington North Regional along with the top six individuals in each event.

The other schools competing are Bellmont, Bishop Luers, North Side, Northrop, Snider, South Side, Wayne, Huntington North, Jay County and Marion. Tickets cost $6.

For more on gymnastics, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at @blakesebring and on Facebook at Blake Sebring.


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