JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The Stingray trampoline and tumbling team just returned from the U.S. Trampoline and Tumbling Association’s (USTA) National Championship in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with four team awards and six individual championship titles.
Twenty local athletes, ages 8-29 years old, traveled to the USTA National Championship to compete against more than 1,800 athletes and 134 teams from across the nation.
The Stingrays won four team titles:
• Second place sub-advanced boys’ trampoline,
• Second place sub-advanced boys’ double mini-trampoline,
• Third place sub-advanced girls’ trampoline,
• Third place elite boys’ double mini-trampoline.
Individual national champions include:
• Nicole Shifrin, girls’ 17-plus sub-advanced tumbling,
• Audrey Smith, girls’ 15-16 intermediate trampoline,
• Will Simon, boys’ 9-10 sub-advanced trampoline, boys’ 9-10 sub-advance tumbling and boys’ 9-10 sub-advanced double mini-trampoline,
• Jack Grimsley, boys’ 11-12 sub-novice tumbling.
Other notable achievements include Oliver Mullin, third place elite in double mini-trampoline and overall 33 top 10 placements out of three events.
Athletes who finished top 10 in the nation include Remi DeLong (age 10), Kenley Diaz (age 9), Emily Dowling (age 15), Jean Fourie (age 10), Jack Grimsley (age 12), Alison Hu (age 11), Chloe Lamkin (age 14), Macy Mannheimer (age 9), Joanna Russell (age 15), Nicole Shifrin (age 17), Will Simon (age 11), Audrey Smith (age 17), Chloe Wright (age 15) and elite athletes Alex Cordon (age 20) and Oliver Mullin (29).
The sport of trampoline and tumbling, often referred to as T&T, is relatively unknown though quickly gaining national and international recognition. Trampoline and tumbling includes four events: power tumbling, trampoline, synchronized trampoline and double mini-trampoline.
Trampoline, invented in 1936 by American George Nissen, made its debut as an Olympic sport at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
U.S. national championships in power tumbling date back to 1886, and the sport is proposed to make its debut as an Olympic sport in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio.
Jim Dowling, founder of Stingrays T&T, was a collegiate gymnast who first coached the sport while living in Florida. In 2009, after a corporate job layoff, Dowling decided to start Georgia’s first USTA trampoline and tumbling program.
He approached local gymnastics schools to host the program but was discouraged to find many clubs simply did not have the room or desire to add another program.
Undiscouraged and trying to think outside the box, Dowling began approaching cheerleading programs. Allstar Panther Cheerleading in Johns Creek offered him space and use of their equipment if he would help coach tumbling classes.
Four years later, Dowling’s nationally ranked program is one of seven competitive teams in the state of Georgia.
This fall, Dowling’s program will open a second location in Kennesaw. More information is available at www.stingraytnt.com.
This article appeared in the July 4 edition of the Johns Creek Herald.