Gymnasts gathering: Janesville Craig site of state meet

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012
— Please, do not call them tumblers.

Three hundred male gymnasts from 6 to 18 years old will compete Saturday and Sunday, March 24-25, at the 2012 Wisconsin State Gymnastics Tournament at Craig High School hosted by Janesville’s CSA Kids Sports & Arts Camps.

The tournament’s first session for Level 6-7 gymnasts begins at 9 a.m. Saturday. The Level 8-9-10 session follows at 3 p.m. Sunday’s sessions are for level 3 and 4 at 8 a.m. and level 5 and 6 at 2 p.m.

Levels are geared toward age and ability. Level 10 is for the oldest and most experienced gymnasts.

Adult admission is $12 per day and children 12 and under will be admitted free.

Gymnasts compete in floor exercise, vault, parallel bars, high bar, pommel horse and rings.

Janesville CSA competitors are 6-year-old Luke Menard, 8-year-old Kellen Ryan, 11-year-old Bryce Webb and 15-year-old Craig sophomore Dalton Struebin, who represents the West Allis Swiss Turners.

CSA coach Brian Struebin, Dalton’s father, is the tournament manager.

“This is the first time Janesville has ever received the bid for the Wisconsin state championships,” Struebin said. “It’s been amazing because Janesville has really extended their hands for this event.’’

For Dalton Struebin, Saturday afternoon’s Level 10 competition is special because he will compete in his school’s gym for the first time, and he is coming back from a broken wrist.

“Nobody has seen me compete,” Struebin said. “I’m excited.”

Performing in front of classmates might not shake Struebin, but getting back into competitive shape is a serious challenge.

Struebin missed an entire season after breaking his wrist.

“I lost a lot of conditioning,” Struebin said. “It’s pretty hard to get it back.’’

“I couldn’t compete for a whole season,” Struebin said. “It was tough.’’

Struebin said he has recovered well and is looking forward to a good performance this weekend.

“I think I can do a decent job,” Struebin said. “I think I can have a top 10 finish.’’

Swiss Turner coach Andrei Kan, a former Olympic gymnast from Belarus, said Struebin has the desire to succeed.

“He made our 14-15 Level 10 team, and he can make it to our nationals,” Kan said. “He doesn’t quit. Dalton is a dedicated kid.

“He can get better if he puts in more time,” said Kan, who—along with Alex Belanovski, another former Olympic gymnast from Belarus—has coached Struebin for four years. “He has already improved a lot.’’

After this weekend’s state competition, Struebin and his club will focus on regional competition for the junior nationals.

Struebin said the competition is strong, and it will take a good performance at the regionals next month to advance to the national meet in Cincinnati.

“It’s very hard,” Struebin said. “The competition is very good.’’

Struebin’s long-term goal is making the US Olympic team, but his immediate goal is to attend college.

“My goal is to make the Olympics, hopefully,” Strubin said. “Right now, it’s college.’’

Struebin said he would like to attend the University of Michigan on a gymnastics scholarship and major in a sports medicine field.

For the past 11 years, Struebin has been honing his gymnastics skills. He has come a long way, but he knows the road is long.

“I’ve learned so much, but there is so much more to learn,” Struebin said.

Last updated: 7:55 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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