Local gymnast to compete in P&G Championships

Matthew Randolph quickly learned how to manage his time at a young age. He balances homework, time with his family and a rigorous training schedule for gymnastics.

Practices started off as six hours per week and eventually increased to 18 hours weekly during the school year. During summer, he spends about 27 hours a week in the gym.

The 17-year-old’s dedication has paid off as he’ll compete in the P&G Championships in Anaheim on Thursday and Saturday.

His performance in July at the 2017 USA Gymnastics Men’s National Qualifier in Colorado Springs helped him clinch one of the seven spots to advance to the championship.

During a phone interview, Matthew said he didn’t expect to move on to the prestigious championship where Olympians such as Simone Biles and Sam Mikulak also once competed.

“I was a little surprised and happy. It’s a good opportunity,” he said.

The La Cañada Flintridge resident took on the sport when he was 4 years old. He said his parents enrolled him in gymnastics because he was “a high-energy kid.”

Matthew joined Tiny Tots in Montrose and later joined the Payke Gymnastics Academy in Alhambra at the end of kindergarten. There he met Matt Lowry, his longtime coach who would help him train for the championship meet.

Matthew tried other sports such as soccer and basketball for two years before committing entirely to gymnastics.

“It’s more interesting doing cool tricks the rest of the population can’t do. It’s awesome doing a standing back tuck,” he said, referring to a backward flip similar to a back handspring.

He added that he hopes to compete in the sport for UC Berkeley or the University of Michigan.

In 2015, he competed in the Junior Olympics and placed first in parallel bar and then in high bar in 2016. And earlier this summer, he traveled to Tata, Hungary, for two weeks to train at the Olympic Training Centre with other athletes.

Lowry described Matthew as an ambitious and talented young athlete who has worked through challenging skills as he’s grown older.

“He’s a smart athlete and [he] is strategic with things he does during practice. It’s nice having an athlete that can take corrections and concepts all at once,” Lowry said.

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