Young gymnasts who want to showcase their talents but aren’t quite up to the elite competition of the USA Gymnastics circuit can turn to regional and national club events sanctioned by the USA Independent Gymnastics Club.
“It’s an alternative to the highly competitive USAG league, where our Olympians come from,” said Ryan Glen, owner and instructor of Le Club Gymnastics in Northridge. “We’re not under the same type of pressure to produce top-notch athletes. It’s a little more casual.”
Six members of Le Club Gymnastics, coached by Glen, will fly to Haines City, Fla., on Friday to compete in the USAIGC national championships beginning Sunday.
The annual event, which will feature 240 competitors this year, is held for girls ages 8 to 18 who are not quite ready for the USA Gymnastics circuit.
The six gymnasts from the Valley and Ventura County area who will make the trip qualified by placing in the top 71 of the 186 competitors at the USAIGC regionals last month in Van Nuys.
In the senior division (14-18 years old), Lisa Herrera of Reseda scored 34.6 points, followed by Vicki Rubin of Van Nuys (34.4), Ashley Hooper of Chatsworth (33.18) and Sara Comden of Simi Valley (32.2).
Carrie Rawding of Simi Valley and Shannon Carberry of Chatsworth qualified in the 8-10 division by each scoring 32.3 points.
Each girl will enter the all-around competition, which includes the vault, beam, floor and bars.
Herrera placed 19th at the nationals last year, and Rubin finished 54th.
The event has an awards ceremony similar to the Olympics, in which the top three finishers in each age category are awarded medals.
“The girls are very excited,” Glen said. “This is a great opportunity for them.”
Glen, 37, was a gymnast at Cal State Northridge from 1980-81, before the program was eliminated.
Both years he qualified for the NCAA championships, placing 12th and 13th, respectively, in the Division II all-around competition.
After working as an instructor for several years, Glen bought Le Club Gymnastics in 1989. He has 350 students, some as young as 2 years old.
“This is my 20th year of coaching and I love it,” Glen said.
“This is what I was meant to do.”
The Adventure 16 store in Tarzana is offering a series of classes in outdoor activities through the summer.
Coming on June 15-16 is beginning rock climbing, which includes an evening session and a full day of climbing.
After learning basic movement technique and how to belay, students will have a chance to try three or four climbs and even a rappel. The cost is $79.
On June 22-23 and July 20-21, Adventure 16 will offer beginning backpacking.
The course includes two evening classes and a two-day weekend trip so that students can use the basic skills they’ve learned in the wilderness. The cost is $95.
The Los Angeles Wheelmen Bicycle Club conducts weekly short and lengthy rides, many of them in the Valley and Ventura areas.
Among the most popular is the 65-mile Canyon Lakes ride, which begins in Valencia and passes by Lake Elizabeth, Lake Hughes and Lake Castaic.