Local tumblers compete at state, prepare for nationals

BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) There's no secret that gymnastics in the Stateline provides some of the best talent in the country.

Sarah Thompson is a shining example. Sarah trains out of J & J Tumbling in Pecatonica. The Dakota High School freshman is ranked first nationally at the junior elite tumbling level with an eye on competing in Tokyo at the world championships. She is coming off a bronze medal at the state meet this weekend, which goes to show how good the talent is here in Illinois.

"I'd say my biggest competition is right here, like my home state of Illinois. There's so many good people and the girls are really amazing and supportive. But it's really hard, but I know that I'm just going to keep trying my best."

"It takes a lot of commitment for these kids to get to this level. Usually they're high school athletes," explained Megan Gearhart, competitive coach at J & J.

"They have to pick this one over other sports. And if they're good at this one, they're pretty strong at other school sports. It's a lot of fun to have an athlete that's not only as talented as Sarah, but is such a hard-worker and great work ethic and great kid."