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Oregon Gymnastics Academy gives competitors an edge

Junior Olympic hopefuls run through routines prior to national championship


by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Trace Jacquot practices on the parallel bars at the Oregon Gymnastics Academy in Beaverton while training for this week's Men's Junior Olympics National Championships.The Oregon Gymnastics Academy in Beaverton was a flurry of activity Friday evening as gymnasts from across the state took part in a two-hour training session.

These Oregon gymnasts were on a mission to perfect their technique as they set their sights on competing in the Junior Olympics.

During Friday’s session, the male athletes had the opportunity to perform their routines in front of judges and fellow competitors at the OGA training facility at 16305 N.W. Bethany Court. The feedback could give them the competitive edge to propel them to the top during this week’s 2013 USA Gymnastics Men’s Junior Olympics National Championships.by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Andre Hufnagel dismounts off the pommel horse.

The five-day event shifted into high gear Wednesday night with an opening ceremony presented by Regence at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. Competition continues today (Thursday) and continues through Sunday in Exhibit Hall A. Spectators can catch the action by purchasing tickets online at 2013jomens.com or at the Oregon Convention Center during most events.

This marks the first time Portland has hosted a USA Gymnastics national championship event. It is expected to attract more than 1,000 gymnasts, coaches and family members.

Hosted locally by Metro Gymnastics Center, the Oregon Sports Authority and Travel Portland, the Junior Olympics is a USA Gymnastics-sanctioned event featuring the top male gymnasts in the country ages 11 to 18. “What a delight it is to bring such a prestigious event to our hometown,” said Metro Gymnastics Center President David Klein. “We hope Oregonians come out to see the nation’s best young gymnasts put on an incredible show.”

Lisa Havelind, executive director of the Oregon Gymnastics Academy, agreed.

“It’s really exciting to have the Junior Olympic Nationals in Portland,” she said. “We’re excited to share our beautiful city with the rest of the country.”

Her 16-year-old son, Josh Havelind, will be among the Olympic hopefuls competing this week. The Glencoe High School student is one of two gymnasts representing OGA in the national competition. Sunset High School’s Ben Fisher, 16, also trains with the coaching team at the Beaverton nonprofit organization. by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Beaverton's Josh Havelin launches himself off the vault while training Friday at the Oregon Gymnastics Academy.

In all, 18 Oregon athletes will compete among more than 700 of the nation’s best for coveted spots on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

Nearly two dozen gymnasts from Oregon and Southwest Washington got a jump on the competition during Friday’s training session.

“It went really well,” Lisa Havelind said of the OGA event. “We brought in two national judges who watched the gymnasts go through their routines and gave them feedback about things they could tweak to help their scores.

“Our goal was to help the kids from Oregon and Southwest Washington to be better competitors at nationals. This was also a great opportunity for them to work together. Ultimately, they will compete individually and as a team representing Region 2.”by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Banks Hall flips inverted on the still rings at the Oregon Gymnastics Academy in Beaverton.by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Longtime gymnastics judge Doug Hills makes a joke while giving advice during a training session for local qualifying athletes at the Oregon Gymnastics Academy in Beaverton.by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - While under the eyes of coaches, Beaverton's Ben Fisher practices floor exercises while training for this week's Men's Junior Olympics National Championships.by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Nick McAfee gets ready for his routine on the still rings  as he prepares for the Men's Junior Olympics National Championships.by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Fellow gymnasts and coaches, along with judge Doug Hills, center, look on as Patrick Casey practices his floor exercise.




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