Teammates excited for local trio of gymnasts to perform at US Gymnastics Championships

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — There’s a lot on the line this weekend for three local athletes competing here in Kansas City in the U.S. Gymnastics Championships.

With at least six spots up for grabs on the national team, there’ll be plenty of people in the stands cheering them on at the Sprint Center.

Thursday was a typical day at the Great American Gymnastics Express Center where young gymnasts flip and fly through the air, perfecting their skills.

But starting Friday, they’ll be at the Sprint Center, cheering on teammates Kara Eaker, Lanne Wong and Aleah Finnegan, as they compete in the U.S. Gymnastics Championships.

“They always do good at the meets. If they just go out and do the same thing, they’ll be perfectly fine,” Alexis Jeffrey said.

From the gymnasts to the coaches and parents, everyone’s buzzing with excitement.

“I think it’s going to be that home bound spirit kind of thing, being able to grasp those three spots on the national team in your home town,” Erena Champles said.

Some also have a few butterflies for the competing trio.

“Everybody will be a little nervous. Just to have everybody to support them, just will make it easier for them,” GAGE parent, Stacy Daniels said.

Right now, signs hang on the walls at GAGE Center, congratulating Wong and Eaker for their latest wins at the Pan-Am games. Folks in the gym hopeful all three will earn some hardware this weekend.

“Nervous for the gym, for the girls. There’s a lot riding on it. They’ve worked really hard. There’s a lot of pressure on them,” GAGE parent Kenneth Steeley said.

The three competing to win are also an inspiration for younger girls.

“Just something she never dreamed of. But now that she sees the girls at the gym, she feels she has the opportunity as well,” GAGE parent Nana Jenkins said, speaking of her daughter, who’s competed with the team for just over a year.

Women start competition Friday afternoon.

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