Multiple competitors earn medals, qualify for national team at meet in Iowa

Mallory Henthorn dreamed of seeing herself and her elite acro gymnastics partner Savannah Shields on a poster.
“And when we finally got on a poster,” Shields said, joking, “she almost slept through it.”
Henthorn, a graduate of Truman High School, and Shields, who attends Grain Valley Middle School, were taking part in the Acro Gymnatics Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Acro Explosion duo was driving to the event when Henthorn tried to catch a quick nap in the car.
“I was just kind of relaxing, when all of a sudden we looked out of the car and there were all these posters of me and Savannah,” Henthorn said, beaming from ear to ear.
“It really was pretty cool. And what a surprise. We never expected to see anything like that.”
Each of the girls made sure to return to Ronda’s Total Technique in Dance, where they both train, with a poster in tow.
“Mine is hung on the ceiling of my room,” Shields said.
Added Henthorn, “Mine’s in my room, too. I think we’re both pretty proud of the poster.”
They made sure they lived up to their advanced billing by once again claiming the gold medal in the elite pairs.
And to add a bit of luster to the special meet, Henthorn was named “Sports Person of the Year,” and the dynamic duo was named “Athletes of the year.”
“They are just so dynamic, and work so hard, it was wonderful to see them get recognized like that,” said their coach, Ronda Francis.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of them, and their teammates. We really had a great national meet.”
Joining Henthorn and Shields as gold medal winners were Cole Francis and McKenzie Handy (Level 6, mixed pairs) and Kennedy Swanson and Mariah Cockshell (Level 7, women’s pairs).
In trampoline and tumbling, Cockshell took first in the trampoline in Level 5 and Austin Schultz also brought home a first-place trampoline medal.
Henthorn and Shields maintained their berth on the U.S. National team; Megan Muehlberger, Brooke Mummaw, Chloe Waite and Brooke Handy all earned spots on the Senior National team, as did Mia Medina and Allison Mode, who retired from the sport after the national meet.
Mummaw, Wait, Handy, Kyle Francis, Alex Burt, Savannah Korn, Kallie Deyerle, Katie Gerstner, Mariah Mora, Gabby Burt, and McKenzie Handy all brought home medals from the acro gymnastics portion of the national meet.
Courtney Roofener, Parris Thomas, Voy Spears and Gabi Baguna medaled in the trampoline and tumbling portion of the meet.
“The best thing about the meet was seeing all the other teams and seeing how they work and practice and get ready for a big meet,” Korn said.
Added McKenzie Handy, “I was really nervous, but I had a lot of fun. It was fun to meet the girls from the other teams. They supported our team and we supported theirs.”