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Soaring to new heights

Shelbyville freshman Jadelynn Noel has been named The Shelbyville News Gymnast of the Year.

By KATRINA BRANSON - kbranson@shelbynews.com

As a freshman, competing on a new level can be intimidating. Golden Bear rookie gymnast Jadelynn Noel is the first to admit it.

“Yes, competing at the high school level is definitely a little more intimidating,” she said. “It’s just different in the way they score and everything. Then, just getting used to a whole new team is a lot, too.”

Her unfamiliarity to the high school level didn’t stop Noel from succeeding. Having competed in gymnastics since she was five-years-old, the freshman was more than ready for the challenge.

“Jadelynn improved so much this season,” said Shelbyville head coach Lauren Boring. “She gained more than five skills just this season. She was one of our top all-around scorers for all events but always came out on top on Vault.”

At the sectional this year, hosted by Connersville on Feb. 24, Noel scored an 8.4 on Vault -- good enough for a three-way tie for 17th place out of 42 competitors. The freshman admits to it being her strong suit.

“I try not to think about what I’m doing too much, though, because if you think about it too much it can mess you up,” she said. “But if you go into it with a lot of force, you just bounce right off the board and you can do whatever you need to do.”

As far as her favorite event to compete in, it’s no competition as she has a love for the Uneven Bars.

“My favorite thing is definitely bars, and my least favorite is definitely the Balance Beam,” said Noel. “It’s just a lot harder to accomplish skills on the beam, because you have to stay on a little platform. It’s harder than people may think.”

At the sectional, Noel placed in 20th out of 40 competitors on bars (7.2) and ended in a two-way tie for 22nd out of 45 competitors (7.450) on the beam. On the Floor Exercise, Noel was 25th out of 44 with a 7.750.

Noel explains that the Floor Exercise is something that may seem harder than expected as you have to be fully committed.

“On the floor you have to be able to get into your routines,” she said. “On top of that I’ve worked on new skills, like twisting for example. It’s harder, but it’s really fun when you get the hang of it.”

As far as the sectional goes, Boring was impressed with Noel’s performance.

“She gave it her all and did just as planned as far as her routines and skills go,” she said.

Although she admits to being nervous before the sectional, Noel explained there was a ritual with the team that helped settle her nerves.

“I was actually very nervous, but we always do a group prayer at the beginning. I usually do that, and it kind of just calms everyone’s nerves,” Noel said.

Her all-around score of 30.8 at the sectional put Noel in 17th out of 30 competitors, which was the top finish in Shelby County. For her effort, Noel has been named The Shelbyville News Gymnast of the Year.

Boring can’t wait to see what she can accomplish next season and beyond.

As happy as she is to have one year of experience at the high school level under her belt, Noel is already looking on things to improve on in her next three seasons.

“I’ve seen a bunch of senior girls, and I want to be as good as them,” said Noel. “Skill wise on floor, I definitely want to get my full, and I want to get a front handspring front tuck -- I’ve been working on that, but it just hasn’t come to me yet. On bars, I want to be able to cast a handstand.

“Then on beam a back handspring. I just need to improve on beam, it’s not my best.”

Noel took time to thank those who helped make her freshman season a success, including teammate Emily Hicks, as well as assistant coach Halle Boring.

“I definitely want to thank Emily Hicks for always having my back,” said Noel. “She only did floor, but she definitely helped me with everything and boosted my confidence up. I also want to thank my coach -- especially Lauren but Halle as well. Halle helped me a lot at all of the practices, and she pushed me to do a lot of my new skills. Also, I want to thank my family for being there for me throughout it all.”

Katrina Branson is a Sports writer for The Shelbyville News. Follow Katrina on Twitter @k_b527.