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Aiming for Junior Olympics

Skillsville gymnasts COURTESY  PHOTO

Skillsville gymnasts COURTESY PHOTO

Local gymnasts climbing to the top

By Harry M. Anderson, Jr.
Special to the Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — Hard work is starting to pay off for the Skillsville Gymnastics/Trampoline Team. Active since 1995, the youth program located on the city’s west side has been producing results in USTA (United States Trampoline Association) and AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) competition.

The Skillsville team, comprised of 13 boys and girls, competed in two USTA/AAU competitions this year with impressive results. The Detroit-area squad competed at the Winter Wonderland Spectacular on Jan. 26 in Jenison, Mich., and the March Madness Trampoline and tumbling Invitational in Comstock, Mich. They took home their share of top finishes.

At the meet in Jenison, Skillsville took home 11 firsts, three seconds, a third and two fourths. The boys winners were Max Baker, Joshua Jenkins, Elijah Stringer and Isaiah Stringer. The girls winners were Najah Baker, Kameana and Marreon Washington.

At the most recent meet in Comstock, Skillsville tallied 15 firsts, five seconds, three thirds and a pair of fourth place finishes. The winners for the boys were Baker, Elijah and Isaiah Stringer. The winners for the girls were Azaria Bailey, Destiny Jones, Cameron Hall, Aniya Howard, Kameana and Marreon Washington.

“Everybody is getting stronger since the beginning of the season,” said Danielle Rose, who’s been coaching at Skillsville for the last five years. “Once the big competition gets here, the Junior Olympics, someone from our team will bring home a medal.

“The competition is intense because it takes hard work to be there. Some teams work five days a week instead of every other day.”

“Our kids practice on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays,” said Aspasia Simmons, another Skillsville coach who has been coaching over the last seven years. “We do this to give their bodies ample rest and time to heal from practice and competition.

“We also want them to have time to study and do their homework. You don’t want to take time away from their school work. Our workouts during practice include traditional exercises, stretches and isometrics. Some days are light workouts while others are intense.”

The team will travel to Grand Rapids for the state championships on April 5-6 to get ready for AAU Junior Trampoline/Tumbling Olympics, which will be held at Cobo Arena on July 26-29. Athletes will come from 49 states to compete for top honors.

“We are very pleased with the last two meets,” Simmons concluded. “We want to do well in Grand Rapids and put on a good showing to host the Junior Olympics in July.”

Skillsville is located at 17609 Livernois Ave., just north of the University of Detroit Mercy. For more about Skillsville gymnastics, contact Rohn Baker at 313.341.3300. If you want to make a tax-deductable donation, call the number above or write to Skillsville AATC, 17609 Livernois, Detroit, MI 48221 or e-mail them at

Competition results for Skillsville Gymnastics
Jenison, Mich., Jan. 26

Boys Girls

Sub Novice Beginner
10 & Under 10 & under

Isaiah Stringer, 10, 1st Azaria Bailey, 9, 2nd

8 & under Advanced Beginner
Max Baker, 5, 1st 8 & under

Intermediate Yemani McKellar, 8, 2nd

13 & over Novice
Joshua Jenkins, 13, 1st 8 & under

12 & under Karmena Washington, 6,1st
Elijah Stringer, 12, 2nd

10 & under 8 & under

Isaiah Stringer, 10, 1st Marreon Washington, 8, 1st

Boys Girls
Beginner Beginner

8 & under 10 & under
Max Baker, 5, 1st Azaria Bailey, 9, 2nd

Intermediate 8 & under

13 & over Kameana Washington, 6, 1st
Joshua Jenkins, 13, 1st Yemani McKellar, 8, 3rd

12 & under Intermediate
Elijah Stringer, 12, 1st 8 & under

Najah Baker. 8, &

Marreon Washington, 8. 1st (tie)


10 & under
Isaiah Stringer, 10, 4th

Comstock, Michigan, March 3, 2013


Advance Beginner

Destiny Jones, 14 (13 and over) 1st

Azaria Bailey, 9 (10 and under) 1st

Yemani McKellar, 8 (8 and under) 2nd

8 and under

Kameana Washington, 6, 1st

Sub Novice
Boys Girls

10 and under 8 and under
Isaiah Stringer, 10, 1st Cameron Hall, 7, 1st

8 and under April Stokes, 7, 3rd Max Baker, 5, 1st

Boys Girls

13 and over 12 and under
Joshua Jenkins, 13, 3rd Aniya Howard, 11, 2nd

12 and under 8 and under
Elijah Stringer, 12, 1st Marreon Washington, 8, 1st


Boys Girls

8 & under 13 & over
Max Baker, 5, 1st Destiny Jones, 14, 1st

Novice 10 & under

10 & under Azaria Bailey, 9, 4th
Isaiah Stringer, 10, 2nd 8 & under
Kameana Washington, 6, 1st
Cameron Hall, 7, 2nd

Boys Girls

13 & over 12 & Under
Joshua Jenkins, 13, 2nd Aniya Howard, 11, 1st

12 & under 8 & under
Elijah Stringer, 12, 1st Marreon Washington, 8, 1st

Najah Baker, 8, 3rd


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