GYMNASTICS: WHILE her friends were walking the red carpet to their formal, Annabelle Kerle was taking to the floor at the Yeppoon Invitational.
The Year 12 Marist College Emerald student was faced with a tough decision of choosing to either compete in the Level 7 WAG division or attend her graduation with her friends, deciding on gymnastics.
The decision paid off for the teen who turns 17 next month, claiming first one beam, first on floor, second on vault and fourth on bars to place second overall.
"I go every weekend to that competition, but it was my first time competing in Level 7,” she said.
"It was my best results away probably.”
Kerle started the sport when she was eight years old and has been part of the Emerald Gymnastics Club for the past nine years, saying she loves that it keeps her fit.
"I enjoy learning new skills, winning trophies and seeing other people at the competitions,” she said.
"My favourite is floor, it's my strength and I've always been good at it.
"I was told two weeks before the competition of new skills I had to learn- a turn with straight leg and back layout with a half turn,” she said.
"I had only practised my vault once, we pulled it out the week of the comp and I got to train on it once.”
Even mastering the new skills didn't compare to the win in beam which was the most rewarding for the teen on the day.
"It's all about balance, it's not my strength area so the win came as a surprise,” she said.
"It all just kinda happened that day.
"It wasn't because the other girls weren't good, it's just some days it all kicks in and you have a win.”
Kerle said standing on the podium was a proud moment and had the vocal support of her mum and club cheering her on.
Having only been in Level 7 since the start of the year, Kerle is the club's only gymnast at that level in the last 20 years.
"It takes about 12 to 18 months to master the skills to go to the next level,” she said.
"I'm aiming for Level 8 by the end of the year.”
The next competition for Kerle is in Gladstone at the end of month.
"I only get to about four comps a year,” she said.
"This year there's been three.
"I've already passed to move onto Level 8 at the Yeppoon comp but I'll stay at Level 7 for a bit longer.”
Once she completes Year 12 at the end of the year, Kerle said her plan is to keep achieving in the sport.
"Even if it's just to be fit and healthy and not be in competition,” she said.
"I don't have a goal but I'll just keep going and get better.”
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