Saints’ leader is a late bloomer in gymnastics Concordia Sectional starts at noon Saturday.

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 gymnasts 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.

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 easier 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.