Three Hawaii Gymnasts Win Japan Junior National Champion Titles
Local ten year old trampoline gymnasts Kayttie Nakamura, Alexander Paul, and Sydney Senter were each crowned national champions in the Japan Trampoline Gymnastics Junior National Championships in the Himawari Dome near Osaka last weekend. Hawaii has participated in Japan national championships since 2004 by special invitation as the only non-national team to receive national awards. In recent years duplicate medals have been awarded to Hawaii players to avoid disturbing the ranking and qualifications to international events by Japanese residents. Only exceptional talents from Hawaii travel to these events so a high standard has been maintained. These three players have trained under head coach Nani Vercruyssen at Hawaii Academy in Kalihi as pre-elite gymnasts eagerly anticipating their becoming USA elites when they reach the minimum age of 12 (they already have the skill proficiency). Until then they hope to gain international experience by competing in the open categories for players 14 and under or in events featuring the most talented in their age groups in Japan and Canada.
The top qualifiers from each prefecture in Japan totaled over 600 elementary, middle school, and junior high school players. In the middle-school category (grades 4-6) Kayttie Nakamura (4th grade at Hokulani School) won 1st in the double mini-trampoline (DMT) event, 4th on tumbling (TUM), 157th on individual trampoline (TRI), and 55th on synchronized trampoline (TRS). Alexander Paul (4th grade at Moanalua Elementary School) won 1st in DMT, 3rd in TUM, 5th in TRI, and 31st in TRS. Sydney Senter (3rd grade at Hawaii Baptist Academy) won 1st on TUM, 2nd on DMT, 21st on TRI, and 55th on TRS.
Their next competition is the Larry Anderson Trampoline Classic in Honolulu November 11th.
For detailed results of all the competitors and teams see http://www.japan-trampoline.com/jgapdf/taikai/2012jr.pdf.
Nani’s Synchro Partner Savannah Vinsant (representing USA) placed 6th in the Women’s Trampoline Competition of the Olympics — Congratulations Savannah!
The Hawaii News Now anchors used Hawaii Academy today to test their gymnastics skills compared with those on the US Team at the Olympics. Nani Vercruyssen, a retired ‘almost Olympian,’ helped explain the events. The anchors each performed on one piece of equipment for upcoming Olympic broadcasts.
Hawaii Academy players competing in the Japan Junior National Championships at the end of this month were also interviewed (Alex Paul, Kayttie Nakamura, Sydney Senter, and Coach Nani Vercruyssen). Their routines were videotaped for airing when they return from Japan in August.
The elders/seniors (Kupuna) class was video recorded for airing as part of a special on senior physical activity. Mike Nakashima gave interviews to explain HA’s mission and philosophy about multigenerational participation and lifetime fitness.
Vercruyssen’s Injury Ends Pursuit of London Olympics
Unable to recover from chronic lumbar back strain and sacro-tuberous ligament sprain in time for the Olympic qualifying events, 20 year old trampoline gymnast Nani Vercruyssen officially ended her competitive career earlier last week. She did not represent the US at World Cup—China (to which she was assigned) and did not perform in the final US Olympic Trial last weekend in San Jose where the US Olympic teams were determined for men’s, women’s, and trampoline gymnastics. This ends her quest to be in the London Games this summer and forces her retirement several months ahead of schedule. At the final selection event she participated in the national team public events and the final send-off of US Olympians but did not compete for final ranking.
Achievements. Vercruyssen ends her exceptional career, the last 10 years as a member of the US national team, as the most distinguished (successful) gymnast in Hawaii history. She was a 3-time Age Group World Champion, World Cup finalist, Pan-American Champion, Pacific Rim Champion, USA Gymnastics Athlete of the Year, USA Gymnastics Sportswoman of the Year, and a 9-time US national champion at all upper ability levels (Level 10, Junior Elite, and Senior Elite). Along the way she won national championships in many countries, including Japan, Canada, Denmark, and Sweden, as well as winning or medaling in many international competitions.
In 1999 the Vercruyssen family purchased Hawaii Gymnastics Academy, previously called Gymnastics Academy of Hawaii, and renamed it Hawaii Academy. This became Nani’s training facility where she was coached by her parents and enjoyed daily gymnastics with her three sisters, also competitive gymnasts. In women’s artistic gymnastics Nani quickly progressed through USAG Levels 4-8 before completely moving from artistic to trampoline gymnastics at age nine. This was an ideal preparation for starting trampoline because she had a strength and form advantage over others who only trained rebounding. Nani competed in her first mainland trampoline competitions in 2002 and dedicated herself to full-time training in 2003 when she became a Level 10 national champion and made her first US national team competing in her first age group world championship at age 11. After that she was hooked on international competitions, world travel, being part of the US national team, and making friends everywhere spreading the aloha spirit (and a lot of Hawaii candy and coffee) around the globe. For the past decade, in addition to training six days per week 4-5 hours each day to become a world-level athlete, Nani has taught classes, headed programs, managed business operations, and administered the Academy as an assistant director. These experiences have fueled her love of teaching children and her desire to become an elementary school teacher in Hawaii.
Thank you. As she retires she gives special thanks to all of her supporters including her coaches (Dr Max Vercruyssen and Dr Donna Mah), her family, Shelley Oates-Wilding (Olympian and personal trainers in Detroit), USA Gymnastics (including coaches, administrators, and fellow gymnasts; financial training stipends and college tuition scholarships, sport medicine and rehabilitation therapy, nutrition and sport psychology consultations), the US Olympic Committee, US Olympic Training Centers (support as a resident athlete, quarterly training camps, and all ongoing special services), Japan Trampoline Association and Japan Olympic Committee (for considering Hawaii a prefecture of Japan in their national championships and for providing Nani resident training with Japan Olympians at no charge), Gymnastics Canada (for including Hawaii gymnasts in their national championships), and Dave Ross (for Skyrider training with Canadian Olympians, coaching, technical support, and equipment through Rebound Products). She would also like to thank all in Hawaii who have supported her over the years including Roosevelt High School (on-line study when traveling), Farrington High School (use of their track for sprint training), UH Manoa student fitness facilities, Hawaii Academy and its members (coaches, students, faculty, staff, and Kupuna gymnasts), Hawaii Academy Booster Club, Hawaii Trampoline and Tumbling Club, and all of the USAG Hawaii women’s artistic gymnastics clubs.
What’s next… While disappointed in not being able to pursue her dream of going to the London Olympics this summer, Vercruyssen is eager to resume her education at UH-Manoa, where she hopes to become an elementary school teacher, and to replace her father as head coach of the elite and international teams at Hawaii Academy. While recovering from her injuries she has totally immersed herself in summer school courses and training her gymnasts for the Japan Junior National Championships in Osaka in late July (last time she attended this event as a gymnast and won grand champion; this time she returns as head coach of the Hawaii delegation and a judge).
Best wishes… Thanks Nani for all the ways you have spread aloha around the world as a Hawaii gymnast and US national team performer. We have enjoyed sharing your experiences and successes. Best wishes in all your future endeavors.
For more information contact Dr Donna Mah (firstname.lastname@example.org, 842.5642, www.hawaiiacademy.com). High resolution photographs and videos are available.
12th Hawaii Trampoline Championships
US Elite Challenge
Three elite gymnasts from Hawaii competed in the US Elite Championships, which also served as the first of three Olympic Trials, at the Tulsa Convention Center in Tulsa, OK: Nani Vercruyssen (20, UH-KCC), Zachary Ceroli (18, Kaiser High School), and Shane Doi (22, UH-KCC). They return home with medals and personal best performances. Vercruyssen, a women’s senior elite on trampoline and double mini-trampoline (DMT), placed 2nd (with partner Savannah Vinsant from Louisiana) in synchronized trampoline, fourth on double mini, fifth on individual trampoline, and obtained an initial ranking of third among US women for qualification to the London Olympics. Ceroli, a male junior elite on trampoline and DMT placed 10th on trampoline and obtained the qualifying score to advance from junior to senior plus placed 6th on DMT. Doi, a male junior elite on trampoline and a Level 10 on DMT, placed 33rd on trampoline (his first elite competition) and 3rd on DMT. Over 120 of the nation’s best elite gymnasts performed to become ranked on four events in the trampoline gymnastics discipline: individual trampoline, synchronized trampoline, double mini-trampoline and power tumbling. The event website ishttp://usagym.org/pages/tt/events/2012/elitechallenge.html. Full results of the competition are athttp://usagym.org/pages/post.html?PostID=9819&prog=tt. Videos are available showing nearly all of the trampoline performances at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0A277490A8DB5670&feature=mh_lolz. Additional video are available atwww.hawaiiacademy.com.
Nani Vercruyssen (20 yrs) is in the final countdown to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. One woman will represent the US in trampoline gymnastics and she is among the five on the short list to go. She has three Olympic Trials to qualify for the Olympian and alternate spots. The five on the US women’s team who are battling for the Olympic spot are depicted in the USA-Gymnastics Behind The Team Segment called The Girls of Trampoline: http://usagym.org/pages/post.html?PostID=9458&prog=tt released 2012 Feb 08.
Please view the segment and support Nani and the US Olympic Committee in whatever ways you can to get the first gymnast from Hawaii to the Olympics. We hope she will inspire more from Hawaii to pursue an Olympic dream.
After winning the Japan Double Mini-Trampoline National Championships and training at the Japan Olympic Training Center last month Nani is currently at the USAG National Training Center in Houston (Bela Karolyi’s Ranch) for training with others on the US National Team. However, she will be back in Honolulu to perform in the finals of a local competition (9th Paradise Friendship Meet) Saturday, February 18th, 7-8:30p at Hawaii Academy. There is a $2 entry fee for spectators and all the money collected goes to defray travel costs for Vercruyssen and teammate Zac Ceroli to attend Olympic Trials competitions in March, May, and June. Please watch her perform and encourage her to train hard to represent Hawaii (and the US) in London this summer.
For additional information contact Dr Donna Mah, email@example.com, 842.5642.
P.S. Vercruyssen was also named HI-Five Athlete of the Week which will appear soon athttp://www.k5thehometeam.com/category/221865/hi-five-athlete.
By special invitation of the Japan Trampoline Association (JTA) offered to the Hawaii Trampoline Association, three Hawaii gymnasts competed in the Japan Double Mini-Trampoline National Championships in Tokyo last weekend. Each qualified to the national level in Japan by scores obtained in competitions held in Hawaii with Japanese gymnasts and judges. Each performed skills of greater difficulty than any other competitor in their age group.
Nani Vercruyssen (20 year old, UH-KCC sophomore) won the 17+ age group and the grand championship over all females. She performed more somersaults in her passes than all females and nearly all males in the competition. This was her seventh national championship title in Japan.
Kayttie Nakamura (10 year old, Hokulani 4th grader) won the female 10 and under age group. This was her first time competing at a national championship and her first time in Japan.
Alexander Paul (10 year old, Moanalua 4th grader) nearly won his age group but after over-rotating a double somersault he placed fourth in the male 10 and under age group. This was also his first time in Japan.
All three players train at Hawaii Academy in Kalihi and are coached by Drs Max Vercruyssen and Donna Mah (see https://www.hawaiiacademy.com). Vercruyssen and her coach are remaining in Japan this week as guests of the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) and JTA to train with trampoline Olympians and World Champions at their National Training Center (NTC; located in the Japan Institute for Sport Sciences in Tokyo; http://naash.go.jp/jiss-en/). Top players all over the world are preparing for the London Olympics in six months and each national training center is focusing on individual needs for optimal performances. Japan has generously provided resources to Vercruyssen as though she were Japanese, much because of Hawaii being a close neighbor in the Pacific and because of her annually training and competing with Japan national teams her entire career.