By Will Willems
Since she was 3 years old, Zionsville resident Madison Hargrave has participated in gymnastics.
Now, she is continuing to show she can compete with some of the top gymnasts in the nation.
Hargrave, 16, competed at her second-straight Junior Olympic Nationals Meet in Minneapolis Saturday, May 11.
“I started on the bars and that was a little rough,” Hargrave said. “But I was able to contribute in the others. I think I did pretty well. It was better than I expected. It was cool to compete against some of the same girls I will see in college. It was really good competition.”
Hargrave improved her placement in the vault (fifth), beam (12th) and floor (ninth) from a year ago.
She ended up 45th in the all-around.
While gymnastics is an individual sport, the Junior Nationals allowed Hargrave to participate in a team, representing Region 5 — which features gymnasts from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.
Hargrave was the lone representative from Indiana at the National Meet and her Region 5 squad placed third overall in the team standings.
“I loved competing with a team,” Hargrave said. “It is nice to get the support of all the girls. When you make a mistake, it’s not as big because other girls can pick you up. All the support makes it a lot of fun.”
Hargrave said her experience last year, in which she finished 24th in the all-around, helped her as she prepared for this year’s nationals.
“Coming in I just wanted to do my best,” she said. “Nationals is a good pay off for working hard. I had higher goals after what happened last year. I was more excited.”
Already this year, Hargrave placed first in the all-around at the Indiana Judge’s Cup, the For Love or Money Invite and the Set 10 Invitational.
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.