Bladen County is full of great athletes. Some however, get overlooked sometimes. As we watch our nation compete in the Olympics we want to spotlight some of our local Gymnasts and the amazing team work and outstanding achievements they are making in the gymnastic world.
Gymnasts in Bladen County are helping each other, improving themselves, and achieving high marks all at the same time. Our local gymnasts train at Lumberton Gymnastic Academy located at 1601 Godwin Avenue in Lumberton with owner and coach Kenan Lundy leading the charge.
Not only are Bladen and surrounding area athletes receiving training in gymnastics at the academy, but they are learning valuable skills such as team work, hard work and so much more, according to many parents.
“It is an incredible bunch of young ladies that are very supportive of each other,” said Brianna Shepherd, the mother of Gymnast Kara Shepherd.
Several of the team members have earned numerous medals, won many competitions and want to compete on a national level.
“I just want to share what we have and encourage more young ladies from Bladen and surrounding counties to come and be a part of it. Even if the girls are not interested in the competition part of gymnastics there are several classes available that just allow them to come one or two hours a week and have fun and have positive encouragement in their life,” Brianna continued.
Below is some information about several of our area Gymnasts.
Arianna Long is a Freshman at Columbus Career and College Academy. She is the daughter of Natasha and Doug Long. She has competed on the gymnastic team with Lumberton Gymnastic Academy for the past six years. She is currently competing Gold. For the 2017-2018 competition season, the first gymnastic meet was at the Hilton Head Island Gymnastics Invitational. She placed 2nd on bars, and beam, 3rd on vault, 5th on floor, and placed 2nd all-around. At the Think Pink Invitational, she placed 2nd on beam, 4th on floor , and 5th on vault. She placed 2nd all-around. At the Legend of the Smokies Invitational, she placed 1st on vault, 3rd on beam, and 5th on floor. She placed 3rd All-Around. For the Lover’s Leap Invitational, she placed 1st on vault, 4th on floor, and 7th all-around. She has qualified for the State meet which will be held in April.
Kiera Lewis started at LGA August 2013. In 2014 she started competing as a bronze gymnast it was a blast. As of today, she’s now Platinum and still collecting the gold. Kiera has completed this year 4 competitions and still maintaining her position as first and second place All Around in her division. Since 2014, Kiera has received 143 Medals, and 12 Trophies. The USA Gymnast of Tar Heel, NC, Kiera Lewis.
I, Robin McDonald, am a proud parent. I would like to introduce my daughter Kiera Lewis, age 12, she attends Tar Heel Middle School of Tar Heel, NC. Kiera is in the sixth grade, she is an A honor roll student, she’s a member of Clark’s Chapel AME Zion Church of Tar Heel, NC, she’s an usher, serve as Acolyte, Crucifer, play basketball at THMS, and love to read.
Lauren Council, age 13, the daughter of Demetrius and Teresa Council, is a Gold team member of the Lumberton Gymnastic Academy. She has competed in 4 meets this year Hilton Head Invitational BB7.650,FX8.375,VT8.775,UB8.775, Think Pink Mebane NC VT8.700,UB8.550,BB7.350,FX8.775 Legends of the Smokies Invitational Cherokee NC VT8.625,UB7.850,BB8.025,ZFX9.350 and Lover’s Leap Concord NC VT8.400,UB9.250,BB8.300FX9.000.
Aubrey Lewis is a third grader at Columbus Charter School. She is the daughter of Michelle Lewis and the late Sam Lewis. She started competing at the age of 4 with Lumberton Gymnastics Academy and has competed for the past five years. She is currently competing Level Gold. At the Hilton Head Island Gymnastics Invitational, she had an all-around score of 36.925 which placed her 4th all around. At the Think Pink Invitational, she placed 2nd on bars and sixth all around. At the Legend of the Smokies Invitational , she had an all-around score of 36.775 which placed her 2nd all-around and 1st place on bars. At the Lover’s Leap invitational, she placed 2nd all-around and 1st place on bars. Aubrey has qualified for the State Meet which will be held in April. Aubrey’s favorite event is bars.
Shelby Smith is a 14-year-old Freshman at East Bladen High School. She is the daughter of Paige Smith. She is currently competing on the Platinum Level at Lumberton Gymnastics Academy. She has competed for the past 7 years. At the Hilton Head Island Gymnastics Invitational, she placed 10th all-around. She placed 6th all-around at the Legend of the Smokies Invitational in Cherokee, NC. She placed 5th all-around at the Lover’s Leap Invitational in Concord, NC. Shelby is also a cheerleader for East Bladen High School.