LONGMONT — Grace Broadhurst didn’t have much left to prove in her young gymnastics career.
After all, the Broomfield senior has a laundry list of accomplishments — from a 4.0 GPA, a member of the National Honor Society and any number of medals and trophies from competitions all over the United States.
But in a two-minute span on April 8 in Wichita, Kan., all the doors that were previously opened for her opened a little bit wider.
Broadhurst, who competes out of the Airborne Gymnastics Gym in Longmont, won the 2015 Region 3 Level 9, 10 Championships on beam with a score of 9.475. It’s a mark that drew the eye of not only the University of Denver, where she has already been offered, but also a top 15 program at the University of Illinois.
“I wasn’t really expecting it to,” said Broadhurst, of the new possibilities that have come about since her win. “I have heard from a few different colleges since then and it is all really exciting.”
The next step in the process for Broadhurst and three other of her Airborne teammates is the national Meet on May 14-15 in Des Moines. One week later, she will make her decision on where she wants to go to college and staying close to home is certainly an option.
Broadhurst’s love of the sport developed at a very early age. Shortly after she began walking, she was tumbling.
“I started when I was two, my parents took me to just a little mom and pop class and I been going ever since,” she said.
“For me? No! I’ve always loved it,” she added. “I can’t imagine my life without it.”
And there was a time that she did have to go without. As is the case with most gymnasts, the ever-present and lingering danger of injury is always close and Broadhurst didn’t have to deal with it in any sort of grand fashion until 2013 when she tore her ACL.
But since coming back and switching gyms, Broadhurst has discovered what her true potential over the last calendar year under the tutelage of Airborne’s coach and Junior Olympic Gymnastics Team Director, Melissa Luedtke.
“She is a really, really, really hard worker and is very devoted to her sport,” Luedtke said. “She has come so far and she has made so much progress, more than I thought was possible.
“She has totally bought into the program and the system of training that we have. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
In that same regional meet that propels the top seven all-around placers to the national championship, Broadhurst placed sixth overall with scores of 9.5 on the vault, 8.675 on bars and 9.075 on the floor. Add in the 9.475 on what is deemed the toughest of all the apparatuses, beam, and her total score of 36.725 was good enough for sixth place.
“She’s just needed to work on her confidence a little bit this past season because she has more skills than any kids I have ever coached,” said Luedtke, who knows the return from ACL surgery has made her a slightly tentative. “That’s a really important for an athlete, when you have to sit out from an injury. I think they develop so much confidence in that time period.
“She has really had to play a big game of catch-up in that department, but she has done so well and we have been working all season at just getting after it and being aggressive and she did at that regional meet.”
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