Rhinelander gymnast has career best and heads to state Submitted: 03/03/2015

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RHINELANDER - The state championship for high school gymnastics takes place this weekend in Wisconsin Rapids.

One Rhinelander athlete had her best performance of her career in sectionals and will head to state.

"You can only hope for so much as hard as you work for it," said Rhinelander senior Alyssa Ellis.

Ellis worked hard to make it to state.

"I've been to state since I was around seven years old every year with my sister just to watch and I thought it was so incredible how talented the gymnasts were," Ellis said. "I never actually pictured myself out there competing."

Ellis's sister Tanya finished as high as sixth on the balance beam at state. This year was Ellis's first opportunity to compete in sectionals. She had been hit with late injuries every season before.

"Being that she hasn't been able to compete through conference, when she made it through the conference meet there were tears of joy that she did it without any injury," said Rhinelander Coach April Denis.

"All this adrenaline that this would be my last chance that I could do my very best that definitely got me through along with my teammates cheering me on and my coaches their confidence for me really built me up," said Ellis.

Before sectionals Alyssa would drag her feet during her bar routine which would end up in a deduction, but at sectionals she kept her feet up and she finished third to advance to state.

"I had a huge smile on my face going to the top bar cause I didn't touch and I knew I was going to get a really good score," said Ellis.

"I was jumping up and down," Denis said. "I think I even started to tear up at that moment and I looked up and I saw her smiling and I thought keep going."
Alyssa kept going.

"Once I landed and I did the best that I could have ever done in my life," Ellis said. "I started having tears of joy on my face."

Story By: Nolan Blair

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