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Gems gear up for state
Nine-year-old Priscilla Smith of Brodhead warms up before practicing her routine Tuesday at the Green County Family YMCA. She is one of 55 Gems youth gymnasts who will be competing this weekend at the Wisconsin YMCA State Gymnastics meet in West Bend. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)
MONROE - There are 55 gymnasts from the Green County Family YMCA Gems gymnastics team who will compete at the Wisconsin YMCA State Gymnastics meet Saturday and Sunday at West Bend High School Field House in West Bend.

The Green County Gems Level 2 team won a state championship as a team last year, and the Gems Level 1 team was the state runner-up.

Seventeen Gems gymnasts are looking to repeat the 28 state championships they won in various levels and age groups last year.

"That was a big motivation," said Dawn Lederman, the Green County YMCA Gems coach and gymnastics coordinator. "It was a big motivation hosting the state meet in Monroe last year and also having the Olympics in the same year. It really boosted my numbers. We just keep on building and building."

More than 1,000 gymnasts from 17 YMCA gymnastic programs will participate in the state meet in seven levels based on gymnastics skills from the lowest level at Level 1 to the highest at Level 7.

In Level 1 for the Gems, there are 17 gymnasts competing. The Gems have 11 in Level 2, 12 in Level 3, three in level 4, five in Level 5, two in Level 6 and one in level 7. There are six in the Xcel Gold division and two in the Xcel Silver division. The Xcel divisions are for gymnasts who are working on developing skills and are between two levels.

"A lot of kids have moved up a level from one year ago," Lederman said. "Our Level 1 team is undefeated this year. I'm hoping they can win the state championship again."

Each of the Gems will compete on the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. The top 30 percent in each level and age group earn medals, Lederman said.