78°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Gymnast ‘flies’ through title-winning routines

For Garrett Junior High Schooler Breann Sanford, flying through the air is almost as routine as walking.

Sanford, 14, has been involved in gymnastics since she was 2, about the same age most kids are reaching that terrible stage parents dread so much.

But for the Boulder City teenager, the gymnasium has been her second home for nearly as long as she’s been alive. Sanford spends about 20 hours a week working on her gymnastics. In March, she was crowned state champion in the bars, beam and all-around events.

She finished sixth during regionals in Tucson, Ariz., at the end of April while competing against girls from California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada.

Her mother, Gayle Sanford, said the task of juggling school and dance with gymnastics is a tough one, but she’s glad her daughter is always keeping busy.

“Gymnastics keeps her focused and motivated,” she said. “She does homework on the way to the gym, on the way back from the gym, and a lot of homework on the weekends.”

Despite the individual accolades, as well as recognition from others within the gymnastics community, Sanford said her greatest accomplishment is getting over her fears in the gym.

“It feels like getting an A-plus on a math test,” she said. “I just love being able to go flying through the air.”

Sanford has placed first in the beam event five times since 2012. With so much success to her name, it’s no surprise the beam is her favorite event during competition.

“It’s definitely my strongest event,” she said. “It tests your balance because it’s only 4 inches wide and you really have to trust your body not to fall.”

Sanford knows a thing or two about falling, yet she doesn’t fear it. Even after she thought she might have had a stress fracture in her back after a nasty spill when she was 11, knowing the technique keeps her mind at ease.

“If you learn how to fall right, then you won’t get hurt as bad as you could,” she said.

Sanford doesn’t have any Olympic aspirations, but wouldn’t mind becoming a gymnastics coach when she’s done with college. She wants to attend Southern Utah University, and said if she’s not coaching gymnastics, she would like to become either a nurse, a wildlife caretaker or a marine biologist.

She said Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Shawn Johnson is her favorite athlete because she notices qualities in her that she sees within herself. Johnson won a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing when she was 16, just two years older than Sanford is now.

“She has the motivation and the skills, and she’s not a dancer. She’s a complete gymnast,” she said.

Sanford, the daughter of Matt and Gayle Sanford, trains at Gymcats in Henderson.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Pickleball proves popular; city to add courts

The sport of pickleball is expanding faster than the dry areas at Lake Mead, with over 5 million players nationwide. Boulder City has noticed this and, in a recent City Council meeting, approved $160,000 of the American Rescue Plan Act COVID-19 relief funds for additional courts in the city.

Fishers angle for best spot

Anglers covered the shorelines at Veterans’ Memorial Park on Saturday, June 11, as Boulder City hosted the Southern Nevada free fishing day event.

94-year-old still out on the green

Feeling younger than ever, 94-year old Virginia “Birdie” Hurst is an avid golfer who has no plans to slow down.

Catalina evokes visions of romance, nature

For many who grew up in the 1950s or ’60s, the name of Santa Catalina will always evoke the vision of California at its most romantic, thanks to the Four Preps’ influential pop song of the same name. But the actual island has helped city folk enjoy romance, nature and elegant surroundings in their preferred proportions for nearly a century.

Waterfall standout of Grand Staircase-Escalante

While it would take a lifetime to see all the extraordinary wonders of the 1.87-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, even on a short visit you can hike to some of the highlights. One of the standouts, that most people are eager to visit, is Lower Calf Creek Falls.

Orchards highlight visit to Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef National Park in Utah boasts some of the finest rock formations and geologic wonders in the West, including the Waterpocket Fold, a wrinkle in the Earth that extends 100 miles. It is also one of the top choices for visitors to hike; its 150 miles of trails take in slot canyons, natural arches and bridges, waterfalls and petroglyphs.

Desert living heralded in Palm Springs

For outdoor lovers who are looking for a family or multigenerational weekend, Palm Springs, California, will certainly fit the bill. While there are hundreds of wonderful things to do here, three places should top any list for those traveling with people of different ages.

Park features more than namesake Joshua trees

Joshua Tree National Park, California, lies about 185 miles from Boulder City, but the scenic route seems just a hop, skip and jump, for it consists partly of a drive in the remote and visually stunning Mojave National Preserve, along a short section of Route 66 and through the ghost town of Amboy.

Bridge extends welcome to Havasu visitors

Moving one of England’s tourist attractions to the American Southwest sounded far-fetched until somebody did it. Now it has become the second most popular tourist destination in Arizona, only being outdone by the Grand Canyon.