HELENA — The 40th annual Mount Helena Open gymnastics meet kicked off on Friday at the Lewis & Clark Fairgrounds. Hosted by the 406Gym Club, the 14-team meet will run through Sunday in the Fairground's Convention Hall.
Among the 500 athletes competing is the daughter of a legendary local wrestler, and a third-generation gymnastics family from the Bitterroot Valley. Mikayla Hall, 13, competes for the host Gym406 Club, and placed runner-up in the all-round Level 7 division, compiling 36.175 points.
The CR Anderson eighth grader captured her favorite principle, the floor exercise, with a score of 9.3. "My best move on floor is a (flip with a) full twist," said Hall, who owns a PR of 9.55 in the event.
Mikayla, who's father Deac Hall was a two-time state wrestling champion for Capital High, has been competing at gymnastics since she was 9 years old.
She described how teammate Emma Rohrer-Fitzhugh has had the most influence on her career.
"Emma always has a good attitude, even though things don't come easy to her," she said.
Hall's other sports include figure skating and tennis, and she couldn't choose a favorite because she "likes them all for different reasons."
Her Olympic hero is Aly Raismon, whom she said "didn't do good for awhile, but she kept going" and went on to win Olympic gold, twice.
Hall said she's taking the sport one step at a time, with her next goal being a Level 8 gymnast.
Chesnee Lawrence, 13, is a Level 8 competitor for Hamilton's Velocity Gymnastics Club. On Friday, her best routine came on the uneven parallel bars, with a score of 9.35, slightly below her PR of 9.525.
Bars also happen to be her favorite event, at which her best moves are "Giants."
"That's when you cast a hand stand on the top bar, and do straight body complete circles," Lawrence said.
The Corvallis Middle schooler's other sport is track, at which runs both relays and the 100 meter hurdles.
Lawrence has been doing gymnastics "as long as I can remember" since her mother is also her coach. Velocity coach Crystal (Haace) Lawrence competed in the 1988 Mt. Helena Open, for Hamilton's club.
Chesnee was actually the third generation in the Mt. Helena Open on Friday. Her grandmother was also in the stands 30 years ago, and at the Fairgrounds this week as well, watching her daughter coach and her granddaughter compete.
NOTE: For complete results visit meetscoresonline.com