Grand Strand boys learn athletic skills in gymnastics

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Many young boys play popular sports like basketball baseball or football. One successful program on the Grand Strand is giving kids a different athletic route.

“My mom when she had me, I was turned the wrong way and the doctors had to give her a c-section,” Gymnast Chrstian Rivera said. “I flipped right back over so I technically did a full flip in her stomach.”

A sudden sprint is punctuated by a springboard, sending revolution airborne.

“Doing tricks is my thing, it’s my favorite thing,” Rivera said.

Those tricks are a huge part of a young man who’s turned into an award winning gymnast.

“It’s amazing to watch how many hours is required to be successful in this sport and how much dedication they have to put into it,” Thomas Gymnastics Coach Zach Mazzarella said.

Week after week, these boys choose this sport over others that are frankly more popular.

“It helps me a lot because I’ve been getting more flexibility, more stronger,”Gymnast Lex Gambacorta said.

“Especially with kids growing up they can’t lift weights before the age of 13,” Thomas Gynastics Coach Ryan Vallejos said. “Getting here they can do body weight stuff and learn how to control their body and start being athletic.”

Handstands become straighter, a turn becomes tighter, and the rolling ring dismount makes practice into perfect. It’s a dedication to a unique sport that means more to their life than just the final score.

“I love to win myself,” Coach Vallejos said. “I try to push that to them now so they can always be better then they are next day.”

Thomas Gymnastics at the Beach level 4’s and level 5’s are the state champions of South Carolina.

Six of the eight boys who competed at the state championships went on to qualify for the regional championships held in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Two of the boys (Narek Mkhoyan level 4, and Christian Rivera level 5) finished as all-around silver medalists.

The level 4 team consisting of, Logan Emsley (Gold on Floor Exercise, Lex Gambacorta (Gold on Parallel Bars and Vault), Michael Gambacorta (Gold on Vault and Rings), Jason Mishoe, Narek Mkhoyan, and Connor Walsh ranging in age from 8 to 11 years old.

The level 5 team is made up of two 11-year-old boys Derek McGovern, and Christian Rivera (Gold in All Around and every event)