COLUMBIA — Licking a push-pop after her last event, gymnast Sophie Kennedy watched as other girls finished competing on the uneven bars and floor exercise. She stood next to her coach Megan Helms while she waited for the competitors to be called to the floor for the results of Saturday's gymnastics event. It was Kennedy's first time competing the Show-Me State Games.
"We usually compete from October to March," Helms said. "We usually only come to the winter games, but I think we'll probably try to bring some of the other team members here next year too."
New beginnings were also in the air for Kennedy's coaching staff. It was the first year that her mother, Shannon Kennedy, was not her coach.
"I came here today to support her and be one of those parents," her mother, Shannon Kennedy said.
Shannon Kennedy, along with the rest of the family, walked around the Hearnes Center to get the best view of her daughter while she competed in all of her events.
But for Sophie Kennedy it's not that different from when her mother was coaching her. With a whisper, both mother and coach let Sophie Kennedy know she spends 13 and a half hours a week practicing gymnastics.
"I really enjoy the bars," Sophie Kennedy said. "I like to swing."
While Sophie Kennedy also practices cheerleading, she says she enjoys doing gymnastics more.
Sophie Kennedy placed third in beam and fourth in floor.
Many of the events surprised the gymnasts when they found out their scores.
"I was really surprised for beam," team member Mercedes Youngblood said. "It was the first time that I scored a nine (for the beam)."
Youngblood placed first on the beam in her level and age group and fourth overall.
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