Two local gymnasts, Virginia Bailey and Emma Schroeder, recently earned top honors in the Junior Olympic Regional Championships.



Virginia Bailey, age 13, a straight-A seventh grade student at Seaside Middle School, won first place all-around in her age group with a score of 37.925 at the Region 8 Junior Olympic Level 8 Regional Championships held April 19-21 at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Virginia also won second place on the uneven bars with a 9.45, second place on the floor exercise with a 9.6, third place on the balance beam with a 9.5 and eighth place on the vault with a 9.375.



Virginia is also a Level 8 Junior Olympic Florida State All-Around Champion and Balance Beam Champion which was held in Kissimmee on April 5-7, as a qualifier to the Regional Championships.



“Virginia is an extremely hard worker and a team leader," said Coach Kathy Dwyer, “Whenever any of the other kids are having a rough day in the gym, she is the first person to give a hug and words of encouragement. She was voted Most Admired seventh grader among her peers at Seaside Middle School and I can definitely see why. “



Emma Schroeder, age 9, a straight-A fourth grade student at Bluewater Bay Elementary, won second place all-around in her age group with a score of 37.875 at the Region 8 Junior Olympic Level 8 Regional Championships. Emma is also the Regional Vault Champion with a first place finish with a score of 9.425 and the Regional Balance Beam Champions with a first place finish with a score of 9.6. She also placed third on the uneven bars with a score of 9.375 and fourth on the floor exercise with a score of 9.475.



Emma also placed fifth all-around with a score of 37.575 at the Level 8 Junior Olympic Florida State Championship held in Kissimmee. She also won third on the vault with a score of 9.4, 4th on the floor exercise with a score of 9.4, fourth on the uneven bars with a score of 9.225 and fifth on the balance beam with a score of 9.5.



“Emma was the second youngest gymnast in her age group at Regionals and competed with the maturity and grace of someone much older,” Dwyer said. “ I have coached a lot of children over the last 30 years and I have to say Emma is one of the most talented, toughest and hardest working young athletes I have ever had the privilege to work with. Expect to see even greater achievements from this young lady in the future!”



U.S. Gold is currently in the process of adding another 10,000 square feet of competitive team training space and equipment to help facilitate the success of their Junior Olympic gymnasts.



“With this added space and state of the art training stations, we will be able to train the boys and girls more efficiently and safely to ensure that U.S. Gold will continue to produce even more State, Regional and National Champions ,” Dwyer said.