For the Troy Daily News
Dawna Hellyer and Doug Sears didn’t know what to expect when, last summer, they started the Tumble U Gymnastics Team. Hellyer, owner of Tumble U, had recently relocated to a new, much larger location in Paul Sherry Industrial Park, and was dealing with overwhelming demand for her classes. Sears, the head coach and gymnastics director, had several talented students interested in the team, but very few with actual competition experience, many with no experience in gymnastics at all.
With that in mind, Sears, with his assistant coaches Sam Stafford and Matt Miller, began their first practice for the inaugural Tumble U Gymnastics Team. Thirteen girls attended: three with gymnastics competition experience, one with cheer competition experience and nine with no experience at all. Only one, Shae Kline of Troy, was qualified to compete above Level 3, the entry level for competitive gymnastics. She would be their sole Level 4 competitor and the team’s captain.
Jenna and Kara Mays, twin sisters from Sidney, were the only other members with competition background, while Kaylee Smith of Tipp City could draw upon her cheer competition familiarity. The remaining members of the team included: Allison Bayless, Kylie Buechter, Olivia Doviak, Addison Hall, Isabelle Lewis, Jenna Robbins, Simone Scribner, Karli Walker and Lydia Walker. Camilla Nicholas would round out the team a few months later.
Since their inaugural meet on January 10 at the Galaxy Invitational, the Tumble U gymnastics team members have consistently placed in their respective divisions, including several first places and many more gymnasts standing on the podium at the awards ceremonies. Most impressive, however, has been their third place team award at the acclaimed Buckeye Classic in Columbus.
The team has just one more stop this year: the Ohio State Gymnastics Championships on April 1-3 in Niles, Ohio. Five gymnasts have qualified to attend the meet: Jenna Mays, Kara Mays, Scribner, Kaylie Smith and Walker. A sixth girl, Doviak, also qualified, but is unable to attend.