With a flip and a jump, Borin Arnold has qualified to represent the state of Oklahoma at this coming weekend's Region 3 Area Regional Competition in Galveston, Texas.
Arnold, a seventh grader at Grove Middle School, is a member of the Grand Lake Gymnastics USAG XCel Gold program.
During the competition, she will compete against other gymnasts from Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Arkansas and Kansas.
While Arnold has been part of the gym since 2007, and a member of the program's TAG league team, this is her first year in the XCel program.
"You would be hard pressed to find a harder working athlete in Grove," her coach Josh Fletcher said. "She set her goal and accomplished it through hard work and dedication."
Arnold, the daughter of Adrian and Jim Arnold, began taking gymnastics as a baby with her mother during the toddler/parent class. She has been competing at the USA team level for four years. She is currently ranked between a level 5 and 6 in the USA competition.
She jokes she's been involved in gymnastics so long, her coaches and fellow gymnasts at Grand Lake Gymnastics, have become like a second family.
Arnold said her competitive nature has pushed her to succeed in the four events she'll take part in regionals: bars, bean, floor and vault.
She said her favorite event is the bars, because it's a skill which utilizes a lot of "muscle memory" to compete. Her least favorite is the beam, joking she has a love/hate relationship with the apparatus.
Arnold said competing at the regional level was a goal she set to achieve.
"I've learned to work hard to achieve goals," Arnold said. "I've also learned not to over think things and to trust yourself to do things."
Arnold said she puts in at least 11 hours each week in practice during competition season, with additional time on Wednesday or Saturday as needed.
"It's fun and very enjoyable," Arnold said. "It keeps me in shape."
She balances her time at the gym with her studies at the middle school. She is a member of the school's student council and plans to run to serve as next year's student council vice president.
She is also a member of the middle school cross country and track teams.
This spring she competed at the conference level in the pole vault wining with an 8'6" jump.
That jump was not only her personal best, but also matched the personal best record set by Grove Senior Megan Tramel also in the seventh grade.
Arnold hopes she will continue to excel in pole vault, like Tramel who finished this past weekend a the first woman in Oklahoma history to take a four-pete in pole vault.
Arnold said while some coaches are tough on their players, Fletcher knows how to "joke around."
"When I'm relaxed I work better," Arnold said. "He's able to coach girls to match their personalities."
Arnold said she's learned techniques from both Fletcher, and his wife, Shonna, which has helped her improve her skills.
Outside of school and sports, Arnold said she loves to hunt for everything from deer, turkeys, doves and hogs.
She also enjoys fishing for trout in Branson, white bass and crappie on Grand Lake, and red snapper in Florida.
One thing with Arnold
One person who inspires you
My parents, because they are great parents to me. They have pushed me to do my best and are always there for me.
One book which has stuck with you
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. The book, set in Tulsa, she said is relatable.
One thing that might surprise people
I can't walk on the beam backwards. My brain doesn't let me do it. I'm also ambidextrous with my feet. I lead off with my left foot for cartwheels and my right foot for back walkovers.
One thing you can't live without
My family, although my mom says my phone.
One piece of advice which has stuck with you
Smell the roses and blow out the candles. My mom says it when I'm nervous, to stop, take a deep breath, smell the roses and blow out the candles. In other words, take a deep breath and calm down.