East Tenn. teen gymnasts headed to world competition

Three East Tennessee teenage gymnasts qualified for the world competition in trampoline and tumbling.
Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 6:27 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Three East Tennessee teenage gymnasts qualified for the World Competition in trampoline and tumbling. After training four days a week for two and half hours a day, Savanna Cecil, 17; Tia Taylor, 17 and Xavier Harper, 13 are headed to the competition.

“They put in the work,” said Eric Thomas, the head trampoline and tumbling coach at Premier Athletics in Knoxville.

Cecil and Taylor earned a spot on the world championship team for the senior women’s tumbling division.

“It’s insane. I’m so excited, such a great opportunity. Really thankful and blessed for it,” said Cecil.

Cecil and Taylor have been training since they were young. The friendships and competition.

Taylor said, “I’m at the top level of like where I can go in this sport so it feels really special to me because it was like I’ve accomplished a lot to get to where I am today.”

Thomas shared the senior women’s tumbling USA team has not won a gold medal since 2007.

“This team is going to be very competitive this year, and hoping to come home with some hardware,” said Thomas.

Harper qualified for individual and synchronized trampoline, and tumbling for the World Age Group Competition. Harper said, “It just feels like a dream come true and a definite surprise to me.”

He tried to qualify for the World Age Group Competition in 2018, but didn’t make it.

“He showed up and showed out, all year long,” said Thomas.

For 22 years Thomas has been coaching, but he’s never had three athletes qualify for Worlds all in one season. “Their work ethic is there and they want it. They want to put forth their best foot.”

The competition is in November in Azerbaijan, a country in the Middle East.

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