By Steve Svetovich
Dunmore High School freshman Mackenzie Black, 15, finished in sixth place among over 500 who competed in National gymnastics in Des Moines, Iowa last month.
Daughter of Shanette Black and Thomas Nolan, Dunmore, Mackenzie is a member of United Sports Academy, Dunmore, where she practices gymnastics six days a week. United Sports Academy is run by Dima Raynova, one of Mackenzie’s instructors.
Mackenzie finished first place in vault, third place in floor and sixth place overall in Des Moines, Iowa.
The United Sports Academy level 10 gymnast, first competed in Regional gymnastics in Allentown in April before moving on to Nationals in May. She competed against the best gymnasts in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia and Delaware.
She earned a medal in the vault with a score of 9.71 in Regionals.
The top six from each group were selected to go to Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa to compete against the very best in the country. And that is where Mackenzie stood out and shined again. Finishing sixth in the country was a major accomplishment.
“It was very exciting,” she said. “I really enjoyed the competition.”
Mackenzie talked about what it takes to excel as a gymnast. “The main thing is that it takes a lot of dedication. It takes a long time and a lot of work and dedication to be good. You have to really want it.”
The talented gymnast is an honor roll student at Dunmore. Her best subject is science.
“I practice at United Sports Academy almost every day, six days a week,” she said. “I have several instructors and they are all really great.”
Mackenzie said she does not have a lot of time for other activities due to her gymnastics schedule. However, she would like to run on the Dunmore track and field team next year.
She enjoys music and would like to see Five Seconds of Summer in concert.
Mackenzie, soft spoken and polite, talked about her future goals. “I definitely want to go to Nationals again. I want to compete in gymnastics when I am in college. I would like to major in nutrition in college and possibly become a dietician. Someday, I would like to come back and teach gymnastics. That would be nice.”
Mackenzie has been practicing gymnastics for almost 10 years and right now her dedication is through the roof.
It is a sure bet Mackenzie will be a big part of local, regional and national gymnastics competition in the next several years.