Area gymnasts headed to junior nationals

Rayna Worley (left) and Adriana Hoffman are competing together for the last time this coming week at the Junior Olympic Women’s National Championship. Worley is headed to college in the fall, while Hoffman, who is a 15-year-old freshman at Christiansburg High School, is just beginning her career.

Marty Gordon

Virginia Techniques in Christiansburg will send two gymnasts to the Junior Olympic National Championships May18-19 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Adriana Hoffman, 15, and Rayna Worley, 18, will be competing in all four events—vault, beam, bars and floor.

Worley is no stranger to this type of competition. The University of Kentucky-bound gymnast has dominated several competitions, racking up award after award.

Last year, she was a national beam silver medalist, floor bronze medalist, and was a part of the Junior Olympics national team that traveled to Peru.

Her awards are almost too many to list completely, but include such notables: fourth place in the Virginia State Championships, state all-around champion, state vault/beam and floor champion, silver medalist in Virginia Bar competition, regional all-around champion, regional beam and floor champion, regional silver medalist in bars, junior national silver medalist in the beam and as a member of the Region 7 all-star team.

Other outstanding marks include her first place in the Techniques Invitational in vault, bars, beam and floor; first place at the Gymstrada Invitational in vault, bars, beam and floor; first place at the Rock Star Invitational in all-around, vault, bar, beam and floor; first place at the Manhattan Classic in vault, bars, beam and floor; first place at the Presidential Classic in all-around, vault, beam and floor; first place in the Charleston Cup for all-around, vault, bars and floor; and was a member of first place teams at the Gymstrada Invitational, Manhattan Classic and Charleston Cup.

Worley said this competition means a lot to her, not just because it’s her last event as a Techniques gymnast, but also because she is stepping away from an entire chapter of her life and diving right into a new one.

“I want to take in and enjoy every second that I can of this competition,” she said.

The University of Kentucky started watching the gymnast when she was in the seventh grade and offered her a scholarship last year.

Worley is excited about having a fellow local gymnast and teammate, Adriana Hoffman, with her for the final time at nationals.

“I am beyond excited and blessed to have had such an amazing young lady to wrap up my seasons here at Techniques with. One thing I hope to leave with her is joy,” Worley said. “I just want her to have fun and enjoy the sport she’s done all of her life. Since this sport is so mentally and physically challenging, it can take a toll on you, but when you stay focused on the things that you have control over and have joy, everything becomes easier.” she said.

Hoffman, who started gymnastics at the age of three, has looked up to Worley and hopes to follow in her footsteps. Rayna has been a great role model, according to Hoffman.

“It has been fun having a teammate by my side and being able to share this experience in going to nationals with her. I love competing with her and making memories with her and all of my teammates. Everyone supports and encourages each other which helps during practice and at the competitions,” Hoffman said.

She is a four-time regional qualifier in Levels 8-10 and was the Virginia State Level 8 silver medalist for vault and Virginia State Level 8 bronze medalist for all-around.

This year at the Brestyans Las Vegas Invitation, she won the vault competition and was named the All-Around Champion.

Hoffman’s goal is to follow in Worley’s footsteps and gain a Division I college scholarship for gymnastics.

Worley said that fact that others are looking up to her pushes her even more.

One of her favorite things to do every time she steps on the mat at Virginia Techniques is to greet every one of the younger gymnasts.

“Every day I get to hug the little girls, and seeing them reminds me of what I was like at that age and I just want to show them that they can accomplish any dream as long as they put everything they have into it,” she said.

The national competition features twelve age divisions (Junior A, Junior B, Junior C, Junior D, Junior E, Junior F, Senior A, Senior B, Senior C and Senior D, Senior E, Senior F), which are determined by birth date. These gymnasts are vying to become Junior Olympic national champions in the all-around, as well as in all four events: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.

The top four all-around athletes in each of the twelve age-divisions are named to the 2019 Junior Olympic National Team. The U.S. Junior Olympic National Championships is one of the national championships of USA Gymnastics, the sport’s national governing body in the United States.

Many Junior Olympic champions have gone on to make the U.S. National Team and represent the United States in international competition and/or to compete in collegiate gymnastics according to the Junior Olympics website. Many of the country’s top gymnasts are former participants in the Junior Olympic program, including 2012 Olympic team champions Jordyn Wieber and Kyla Ross, 2009 World vault champion Kayla Williams, 2008 Olympic team silver-medalists Shawn Johnson and Samantha Peszek and 2004 Olympic team silver-medalist Courtney McCool, the organization says.