Local gymnast makes state team, wins regional meet

Holly Viers • May 22, 2018 at 5:45 PM

KINGSPORT — At just 12 years old, Grace Humbert is already making a name for herself in the gymnastics community.

In addition to making Tennessee’s state team, Humbert recently finished first at a regional gymnastics competition in Daytona Beach, Florida, where she competed against top gymnasts from eight states in the Southeast.

“She was representing the state of Tennessee at the competition, and they’d only take the top six kids, regardless of their age and regardless of where they’re from in our state,” said Kristin Lemons, Humbert’s coach. “Then she (went on) to compete against the top six kids from each state. … She won … against the very best of the best.”

Humbert, a sixth-grade student at Robinson Middle School, has been doing gymnastics off and on since she was 2 years old. She is currently part of Meadowview Gymnastics Academy’s Xcel Gold team, though Lemons said she will be moved to a higher-level team next year.

After just two years of doing competitive gymnastics, Humbert qualified for this year’s regional competition, which was held last month. To prepare for the event, Humbert practiced four days a week for three and a half hours each day, learning new skills and perfecting her current routines.

Though no other gymnasts from Meadowview Gymnastics qualified for the state team that competed at regionals, Lemons said Humbert’s teammates gave her their full support.

“Quite a few of her teammates that had been there also came just to watch her session, because she’s a great friend,” Lemons said. “She’s so good to the other kids that they were excited to come and watch her and support her.”

Humbert accomplished more than winning the regional meet. Soon after the competition ended, Humbert’s parents learned that she was ranked 16th in the nation, though they aren’t sure where she ranks now.

“(She was ranked 16th) at least the week after that competition,” said Grace’s mother, Meredith Humbert. “That was good enough for us; I didn’t keep checking.”

In the future, Humbert said she plans to continue working with Meadowview Gymnastics. Once she graduates high school, she hopes to go to the University of Georgia and be part of its gymnastics team, the GymDogs.

Beyond that, Humbert’s ultimate dream is to represent the United States in the Olympics.

“I’m super proud of her,” Meredith Humbert said. “I think we’re just so fortunate to have such a successful gym, and Kristin’s been a very supportive coach all these years. We’re just so fortunate to live here and give her a place where she can thrive.”