A trio of athletes from TRC Gymnastics in Solana Beach made their mark this season at the state and regional levels in USA Gymnastics. Gymnasts Ryan Noonan, Alexia Civit and Dylin Dean all achieved podium finishes this year at the state level and went on to perform well in Region 1 Regional Championships, considered one of the strongest in the country for women’s gymnastics, comprised of California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah.
These young athletes have put in the work to accomplish big goals, spending 22 hours a week in the gym.
Ryan, a 13-year-old seventh grader at Santa Fe Christian, placed fifth all-around at Level 9 Regional Championships, qualifying her for Western Nationals in Spokane, Wash. on May 10-12.
“It’s an honor for my first year in Level 9,” Ryan said. “I am super excited for the experience.”
Only Level 9 gymnasts move on to nationals from regional championships.
“My best event was vault,” said Ryan, who placed fourth in the event at the state competition. “It’s my strongest scoring event for sure but it’s not my favorite event to work.
”Her favorite would be the uneven bars: “It’s so much fun, I love to swing and fly though the air.”
Ryan has been doing gymnastics at the TRC gym since she was a 3-year-old toddler. Her attraction to the sport came as a surprise to her parents, Monica and Jeff, who own Noonan Family Swim School in Del Mar.
Last year Ryan won the Level 8 all-around gymnastics title at the state championships and moved up a level this season, with all new skills to master.
“I started off pretty shaky in my first meets,” Ryan said. “For state and regionals I stepped it up and had my best two meets of the season.”
Ryan said she usually places in the top third of her age group and at regionals she had an idea in her mind that she would make it to nationals but she didn’t want to be too confident, “just in case”.
She started with a great vault, put in a solid bar routine and had an uncharacteristic split on beam. With the small mistake on the beam, she went into the floor knowing that if she hit it, she would have a good chance for top seven. Ryan had the best floor routine of the season, punching her ticket to nationals.
“I’m not going in with too much pressure, I just want to hit four for four routines and do the best I can and have fun with my teammates and enjoy the experience,” Ryan said. “I want to thank my family for supporting me and helping me reach my goals and I want to thank my coaches and teammates for pushing me to do my best and always being there for me.”
Alexia, a 15-year-old freshman at Torrey Pines High School, won first all around in Level 7 at the SoCal State Championships, racking up medals in individual events, placing second on vault and floor and fourth on bars and beams.
While she has won the all-around title a few times at past meets, this was her biggest accomplishment in the sport.
“I had my best day,” Alexia said. “Winning states is a very big deal for a gymnast to have done.”
Alexia started gymnastics when she was 7 years old—as her mom is a yoga instructor she could already do handstands and headstands. While taking a gymnastics class with a friend just for fun she caught the eye of a coach in the TRC gym who noticed her natural talent and moved her up a level.
“It took off from there,” Alexia said.
Alexia said she goes into every competition just wanting to do her personal best and that approach paid off at the state championships.
“I knew I was doing really well from the scores I was getting but I had no idea I was in first place until they handed out the medals,” Alexia said, noting when she was the last one standing she thought it was possible she didn’t place at all. “It was a crazy surprise…Oh my gosh, it was so exciting on the podium.”
Alexia joked that she celebrated her big victory by “sitting in traffic” –afterward she enjoyed dinner with her family and “basked in the glory over the weekend until I went back to school.”
Alexia’s performance at state earned her a trip to Regionals on April 26-27 in Reno, Nevada. At Regionals, Alexia placed fourth in the all-around, earning third place in bars and tying for fifth in the vault and floor.
Gymnastics is a big commitment and Alexia trains every day except Thursdays and Sundays—on Thursdays she sails with the Torrey Pines High sailing team.
“There’s nothing like training to keep your body in physically prime condition and competing is super fun and exciting so it’s always worth it,” Alexia said.
Level 8 gymnast Dylin Dean, a 13-year-old who attends Earl Warren Middle School, had a big day at Regionals in Las Vegas on April 12-14, winning the vault, placing third in beam, fifth in bars and third in all-around.
Her performance was even more impressive given that she was injured for most of the competitive season.
Shortly after winning the Level 7 all-round title at Regionals last year, she broke her hand. Two weeks before this season started she suffered a sprained disc in her back and was out of the first three meets. At the fourth meet she was able to qualify for state championships, where despite some soreness in her back, she finished seventh all around and qualified for Regionals.
“I am really happy with the outcome because I worked really hard in order to prepare for Regionals,” Dylin said.
Moving up to Level 8 this year, one of the biggest differences is that the athletes must do a Yurcheko vault, doing a round-off into a back handspring off the vaulting table, completing a flip and sticking the landing.
Dylin said while she wished she could’ve competed in more meets this season, she exceeded her goals on vault—including the top finish at Regionals— got stronger on beam and was able to land some of the harder tumbling passes on floor.
“I’m really proud with how the season turned out and I’m really excited for what’s ahead of me,” said Dylin, who initially started taking gymnastics eight years ago in hopes of being a cheerleader. “My goal is to work really hard and make it to level 9 next year.
At 13 she would be one of the younger level 9 athletes. “It’s a lot of work but definitely worth it,” Dylin said.