Local gymnast wins state championship

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Central fifth grader and Moser School of Dance and Gymnastics student Ella Frieden poses with her trophy after winning the state championship at the United States Trampoline & Tumbling Association (USTA) State Championship, which was held in Marshalltown in April. The win qualified Ella for nationals, which will be held in Rochester, Min., from July 15-19.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

 

Champions aren’t just born that way. They achieve it through hard work, practice and, in the case of Central fifth grader Ella Frieden, through a “bit of resilience.” 

 

Ella, now 10, has taken classes at the Moser School of Dance and Gymnastics since she was five, initially just for something fun to do. Eventually, she started competing. 

 

She first competed in the sub beginners category before a motivation to learn new things pushed her through other competition levels. She made her way to the advanced-beginners level, which consists of forward, backward and neutral skills including rolls, cartwheels, round-offs, handstands and all limbering skills. 

 

Ella has honed these skills while attending once-a-week sessions at Moser’s, a school with a rich history in the area. The family-run business has been sculpting champions for the past 50 years, in the belief that every child is unique and special. In choosing Moser’s, Ella found a place that makes the sport enjoyable, coaches who are inviting and tumbling friends who make practice fun. 

 

“We are a family. We encourage them to be their best selves. They know us and trust us and know we teach more than dance and gymnastics. We teach confidence, self-esteem, respect, kindness, caring, manners and how to best present yourself. Our kids learn how to set their goals, stay focused, stay disciplined, determined and do the work needed to achieve their goals,” said Ella’s coach, Carmen Moser Payne. 

 

This approach has paid off well, not just for Moser, but also for Ella, as both were champions at the United States Trampoline & Tumbling Association (USTA) State Championship, which was held in Marshalltown in April. 

 

At the event, which included 26 clubs, Ella participated in the advanced beginner competition, facing off against 18 other athletes. In a routine that consisted of limbers and walkovers of the forward and backward variety, among other things, Ella received a score of 41.3 out of a possible 42, winning the event and her very first state championship. 

 

In the process, Ella also helped Moser’s win first place as the top tumbling team. In total, 19 athletes earned state championship titles for Moser’s and 93 athletes from the school qualified alongside Ella for nationals, which will be held in Rochester, Minn., from July 15-19. 

 

Going into the event, Ella knew she had worked hard and was prepared to do her best, but sometimes what pushes an athlete towards victory is confidence. That confidence is gained through working with coaches in a hands-on-approach, explaining things in step-by-step detail and providing encouragement through smiles and positivity. 

 

That confidence, and the ability to “surprise herself,” as Ella’s mom, Joan Frieden, mentioned, is a key not only to Ella’s success, but to her continued participation. There is a certain pride that comes along with learning and executing a back handspring. 

 

As Ella readies for nationals, she is living in the moment, setting aside the pressure of long-term gymnastics goals and focusing more on being a 10 year old, making friends and just working on her skills, which includes being upside down a lot. 

 

“We just want her to get better every day and we could not be more proud of her. She never gives up,” said Ella’s parents, Rob and Joan. 

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