Gymnast springs to finish second at national trampoline championships

August 10, 2010

By Paige Collins

Ashleigh Thomas, an incoming Issaquah High School senior, performs at a nationally competitive level on the double-mini trampoline. Contributed

Ashleigh Thomas, an Issaquah High School senior, jumped, flipped, twisted and turned her way into second place on the double-mini trampoline at the USA Gymnastics Trampoline and Tumbling 2010 U.S. Elite Challenge at Virginia Beach in June.

Thomas finished her first meet as a senior-elite on the double-mini trampoline with 130.4 points and an invitation to the U.S. Nationals VISA Cup next month in Hartford, Conn., according to her mother Cathie Richardson. She has also earned points toward selection for the 2010 Senior National team that competes at the world championships.

Thomas began her gymnastics career at age 3, doing the traditional artistic gymnastics with bars, beams and floor routines. She decided to use trampolines to help her improve her floor skills, and ended up loving the trampoline and continued with it.

While trampoline is an Olympic event, double mini trampoline has yet to gain that status.

“It’s really a pretty good little sport,” Richardson said. “It’s really growing in popularity.”

Thomas also competed on the big trampoline, and came in 17th in the nation. She hopes to continue with both events this year and see how far she can make it.

As a senior in high school this year, she is entering a time of applications and decisions about her future. She is not sure yet where she wants to go to college, but does know that the decision will be made on academics first, and then she will see how gymnastics fits in. She is in Advanced Placement classes at Issaquah High, and is in the Honor Society, all while practicing for gymnastics 10 hours each week.

“Gym was for fun at first, then got more competitive, but it’s still fun,” Thomas said.

She said her most difficult trick is a double front flip with a one-and-a-half twist, called a Rudy out.

She is headed to the U.S. Nationals VISA cup this summer and is hoping to earn herself a place at the 2010 World Championships in November in Metz, France.

Paige Collins: 392-6434 or isspress@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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