For Kayla Devaux, excelling in the Level 6 competition with her Park Avenue Gymnastics teammates was even more rewarding than her own accomplishments.
That means a lot coming from the 12-year-old Miramar resident, who garnered individual titles on the vault, bars, beam and all-around during the 2017 USA Gymnastics Florida State Championships at the Long Center in Clearwater in March.
“When I was at states, I thought I had to do my very best in order to come in first place for Level 6,” said Devaux, a sixth-grader at Franklin Academy. “I tried my hardest to get really high scores. It was very exciting to win such a close competition. I was really happy we won; it was very emotional.”
And very close.
The Park Avenue girls team won Level 6 by .025 of a point over Lakewood Ranch after trailing for most of the competition. Level 6 is the first optional level, in which gymnasts can choose their own routines.
Cassidy Ricard, 14, of Pembroke Pines, came through with state titles on beam and floor exercise, while Amanda Czubkowski, 11, of Miramar, took the vault and floor titles. Teammate Emma Aitken, 15, of Weston, took first place on the vault, bars, beam and all-around.
All 17 Park Avenue team members were instrumental in winning the state title for the third time in four years.
In the boys competition, 16-year-old Will Gomez of Pembroke Pines competed at Level 10 and became the state champion in the floor exercise, vault and all-around. The sophomore at Pembroke Pines Charter High School is no stranger to championship victories, having won the 2015 Level 9 National All-Around Championship. He and teammate Tyler Flowers have qualified for this year’s national competition in Orlando on May 10-14.
“My mom was a gymnast, and my sister is one as well. I started taking gymnastic classes at the age of 3,” Gomez said. “I loved going to gymnastics, and as the years went on, it was getting more…