NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

March 13, 2014

Port gymnast, 9, wins state championship

NEWBURYPORT – After winning the Massachusetts State Championship, Aquinnah Wehrwein is now the best 9-year-old gymnast in Massachusetts.

“I think gymnastics is almost like a happy disease,” said Amy Patch, Aquinnah’s coach at Ace Gymnastics in Ipswich. “Once the kids go upside down, they can’t stop and Quinny was like that from the minute she walked in here at age five.”

Competing against 60 other 9-year-old girls from across the state, Aquinnah finished on top in combined points from her four event to win the all-around championship.

“It’s a little complex,” said Jessen Wehrwein, Aquinnah’s father. “At each level, USA Gymnastics mandates certain skills that have to be accomplished before one can move to the next level. You can be eight, nine or ten years old at a level-four, which is what she is, then you can go on to the next level. When her coaches feel she is ready, they will move her up to a level-five.”

It’s a move that likely won’t be far away.

“I see her making that jump soon,” Patch said. “She has the skills she needs for the next level and this was her second year doing the same routine, which was why she was able to shine. The jump she made last year to this year was enormous.”

What makes her accomplishment all the more impressive is what Aquinnah had to overcome to even keep her season alive. After suffering an injury in December, her season appeared to be in jeopardy.

“The best part about her championship was that she was coming off an injury,” Patch said.

“She was doing a cartwheel and fell off the beam and broke four knuckles in her hand. We were afraid she was going to end her season, and she was doing so well, but she came back and she won states, so that was huge.”

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