Wilsonville teen qualifies for national gymnastics meet
Wilsonville—Piper Colby is a dedicated athlete at the age of 13. Training roughly 16 hours a week has brought her close to the pinnacle of her age group. That is not just hearsay or opinion either.
Colby took part in the Region 2 Championships on April 13 and took sixth place for level nine gymnasts in her age group. There are 10 levels before athletes take the step up to the elite level, or the gymnastic equivalent of going pro.
For Piper, placing as high as she did was a pleasant surprise, but she worked hard to get. After all, she was competing against some of the best youth gymnasts from Oregon, Hawaii, Montana, Alaska, Idaho, and Washington.
"I was really excited," Piper said. "I didn't think I would do that well, but it was a surprise and I was really happy about it."
Placing where she did puts Piper in a position to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah to compete against the best from around the nation. Piper is confident, but not getting ahead of herself.
"I think I'll do pretty well because I'm adding harder skills before the competition and I'm working really hard," Piper said. "Each routine is made up of a bunch of different flips, depending on the event. I'm adding harder skills and more, so that my composition score gets higher and the start value gets higher."
Piper trains out of Jewarts Gymnastics Northwest, a gymnastics center located in Wilsonville. For Ben Jewart, the centers owner and coach, seeing Piper go to compete at a national competition has a particularly good ring to it because she was the first to sign up for the new school when it opened.
"The cool thing about Piper is that she was the very first gymnast in 2013," Jewart said. "She was the first to sign up. Her mom and her signed up and were excited that there was a school in Wilsonville. Five year process to get there, but she persisted and followed through on things to do to achieve her goals."
And they were her goals. Sarah Colby, Piper's mother, was very pleased with the drive that her daughter has shown in pursuing her dreams.
"She sets her own expectations," Sarah said. "Her goal in 2013 was to progress so she could do college gymnastics."
College gymnastics is the ceiling for Piper, but it is a limitation she set for herself. After participating in college gymnastics, Piper plans on seeing what else life has to offer her.
"I want to stop at college because I feel like gymnastics is fun but it's not really a career," Piper said. "I feel doing it in the Olympics would be too difficult and it would take away from other parts of my life."
The other parts of her life at this point include being a diligent student, raising and showing goats for 4H, and hanging out with her friends. As Piper looks ahead to the meet in May, she reiterated her anticipation of the competition to come.
"I'm really excited about it because I've never been able to qualify for a national event before" Piper said.