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Demopolis first grader wins top award

DEMOPOLIS &045; Seven-year-old gymnast, Logan Pontillas of Demopolis, took first place honors in the floor exercise last Saturday to become the 2007 Level 3 Mississippi USA Gymnastics Floor Exercise State Champion. She scored a 9.200 for the win.

The MSUSAG State Championships were held at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Miss. Pontillas finished second in the vault competition, fourth in the beam, fifth in the bars, and fourth overall for her division, missing number one overall by just .475 points.

She competed against eight other six and seven year old girls.

All USA Gymnasts must qualify for State Meets, which the first grader had done through regional meets.

In mid-February, she contended in the Luney Toons Classic VIII in Starkville, Miss., where her best finish was third in the floor exercises. On February 2, young Pontillas entered Miller’s Touch of Kountry in Newton, Miss. Her best matches were the floor exercise and the beam, as she finished second in both. To qualify for the state championships, the gymnast had to score 30 or above in the regional meets.

The year began with the Winter Invitational last January 20 in Flowood, Miss. Pontillas locked in second place on the floor exercises again.

The floor exercise, which happens to be Pontillas best event, is an event in which movements are performed on the floor in an area that’s 40 square feet. Some type of cloth or mat, usually with some cushioning covers this area. No other apparatus is used. The type of exercise required is a series of movements combining elements of flexibility, strength, jumps, and holding of poses.

The Westside Elementary student competes for Meridian Gymnastics in Meridian, Miss., where she practices twice a week, and is coached by Rachel Gray.

She started competing at the age of four in Canada, where she was asked to join its team. Her parents, Tony and Dawn Pontillas, who are very excited of the state championship, made the commitment to support their daughter in her love of gymnastics, and located the gymnastics team in Meridian after moving to Demopolis.