Area gymnast earns All Around silver medal

2018 USA Gymnastics Championships

By Randy Lefko
Posted 6/6/18

ORANGE PARK – Nine year old Calvin Wells had a bit of energy as a youngster and found out that he was pretty good at flag football.

“I had a typical four or five year old that liked to climb …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

Area gymnast earns All Around silver medal

2018 USA Gymnastics Championships

Posted

ORANGE PARK – Nine year old Calvin Wells had a bit of energy as a youngster and found out that he was pretty good at flag football.

“I had a typical four or five year old that liked to climb up the side of a refrigerator for fun,” said Amy Pope-Wells, Calvin’s mom. “I needed something.”

That ‘something’ was a trip to the North Florida Gymnastics building in Orange Park where Wells teamed up with coach Ian Bullard to explore his abilities around gymnastics apparatus.

Amy Wells, a local business owner, and husband Craig, a former collegiate baseball player, both started reading and learning all about gymnastics as Calvin progressed.

“I bought this $100 book of gymnastics that was nearly six inches thick,” said Amy Wells. “I just did some track in high school and we wanted to learn the scoring of each event so we could help him plus understand how tough this sport is. He trains almost 30 hours a week.”

When Calvin attended the first gymnastics summer camp, Bullard was coaching and caught glimpses of the young and adventurous tumbler with little fear of flips and somersaults.

“He was a naturally gifted athlete with a good sense of body awareness and good overall strength,” said Bullard, 42 years old with eight years with North Florida Gymnastics after competing as a Robert E. Lee High School student. “He has taken to the coaching bit by bit and is now at a level six (of a possible 10).”

Wells, who started with gymnastics at age six with the Chattanooga event his first major event, improved enough in the ensuing five years to earn a second place medal in the All Around scoring of the 2018 USA Mens’ Gymnastics Competition held April 28 in Chattanooga, TN. Wells scored a first place in the high bar competition and finished second overall by just 0.55 points.

“I was not that nervous going to the championships,” said Wells. “There were a lot of kids there.”

Bullard concurred that Wells stepped into the big arena with little nervousness.

“He was not intimidated at all by the competition,” said Bullard. “When I first scooped him up at one of our gymnastics camps, I saw that he had potential.”

Wells considered the high bar his strongest of the six skills of gymnastics; floor exercise, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar despite revealing during his interview that he never considered that he was upside down and nine feet off the ground during his routines..

“I have to work more on the floor exercise,” said Wells, who goes to school at St. Johns Classical Academy. “The high bar is my favorite because I like the giants, the big swings.”

At the USA championships, Wells won the high bar with a best-score 9.150 score to win the event by just .05 over Charlotte Gymnastics’ Pavel Starominsky who eventuall finished third overall behind Wells with a 51.900 total score.

Wells, stayed in the top three of five of the six events with a fourth place finish in the parallel bars his lowest finish although overall champion Fred Wilson of Rose’s Gym team out of North Carolina.

Wells’ scores for the events were 8.250 for second in the floor exercise behind Wilson’s 8.650; 8.600 for third in the pommel horse with Wilson top score at 9.150; 8.850 in rings for third with Wilson first at 9.100; 8.500 in vault for third with Wilson fifth at 8.350 (won at 8.950); fourth in parallel bars at 9.100 with Wilson fifth at 8.950 (won at 9.450) and first in high bar at 9.150 with Wilson tied for third at 8.900.

Wells was joined in Chattanooga with teammates Nicholas Maccario, of Jacksonville, who finished fourth at 51.850 in the same level 62, nine year old section.

Bullard commented that Wells will next compete in level 6 division 1 with higher risk skills and tougher judging.

“He just completed the basic skills level of gymnastics and now will move to bonus skills,” said Bullard, also a martial arts disciple. “Each level has a level of progression as the athletes perfect the skills.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment