Tum­bling into 2019

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - SPORT - By JAMIE LOWE

De­niliquin gym­nast Nick Caruso is look­ing to build on a strong 2018 head­ing into the new year.

The 12 year-old qual­i­fied for the Gym­nas­tics Vic­to­ria state team for a sec­ond year in a row af­ter a suc­cess­ful per­for­mance at the re­cent state qual­i­fier at Palmer’s Gym Bendigo.

This will see Nick com­pete in the tum­bling event at the Aus­tralian Gym­nas­tics Cham­pi­onships at Mel­bourne once again, where he fin­ished fifth over­all in the Un­der 13s class last year.

‘‘I didn’t think I would make it this year as they’ve be­come tougher with scor­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve also gone up an age divi­sion to the Un­der 14s.

‘‘I was so ex­cited when my name was called out as one who had qual­i­fied.

‘‘It’s go­ing to be a big chal­lenge, but it will be a great ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

The past 12 months has seen Nick com­pete at the top level of gym­nas­tics against the best in Aus­tralia.

At the start of 2018 Nick trav­elled to Syd­ney with his Flip­stars Deni coach Rachel Bu­choltz to train at the renowned Kachan School of Tum­bling and Per­for­mance for a four day coach­ing/gym­nast clinic.

Af­ter learn­ing from the best Nick trained hard to fin­ish first in his Level 6 com­pe­ti­tion at the Vic­to­rian State Cham­pi­onships held at Mel­bourne in Oc­to­ber.

It was an im­pres­sive re­sult as Nick had stepped up two lev­els from the pre­vi­ous year, fol­low­ing on from his Level 4 win at the 2017 state ti­tles.

While com­pet­ing well in­di­vid­u­ally, Nick also proved to be a strong team player as well, claim­ing a gold band­ing at lo­cal and NSW state level with the Rockin Flip­stars, a Team Gym squad from Flip­stars Deni.

‘‘I travel to Bendigo every week and train at Palmers Gym who I com­pete for in Vic­to­ria,’’ he said.

‘‘I en­joy the travel and I’ve made plenty of friends there.

‘‘I also train in Deni at Flip­stars with Rachel (Bu­choltz) twice a week, which al­lows me to com­pete at NSW state level in Team Gym.’’

Nick’s ef­forts were re­cently recog­nised by Gym­nas­tics Vic­to­ria, be­ing se­lected for the Vic­to­rian High Per­for­mance Plan Tram­po­line (TRP) De­vel­op­ment Squad.

The squad was cre­ated to raise the stan­dard of com­pet­i­tive TRP ath­letes and coaches in Vic­to­ria, with the aim to sup­port ath­letes to achieve podium suc­cess for Aus­tralia at bench­mark events.

‘‘I can’t wait to get started with the squad,’’ Nick said.

‘‘It will help me to fast track my skills in gym­nas­tics and will be great for my de­vel­op­ment.

‘‘I’m hop­ing to get higher than a fifth place fin­ish at the 2019 na­tional event, so this should help me achieve that goal.’’

RIGHT: Nick Caruso with the gold medal that he won at the 2018 Gym­nas­tics Vic­to­ria State Cham­pi­onships.

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