Apr. 9—This weekend will provide the ultimate do-over for Chelsi Webb and the Flipstarz Gymnastics team.
Beckley was supposed to host the West Virginia Gymnastics Championships last season before, like everything else, the coronavirus pandemic forced its cancellation. With everything a go this spring, the city will get another shot.
That shot has arrived, starting Friday and going through Sunday at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center. Last year's state meet was scheduled to be held at Woodrow Wilson High School, but nearly 500 gymnasts are expected this weekend. That forced a change in venue that was only recently confirmed.
"We didn't get the Armory until probably two weeks ago," Webb said. "So we're putting a state meet together in three weeks that should take six to eight weeks. It's been a really busy three weeks, but we are really excited to have the opportunity to host again."
Gymnasts at levels 2-10 will compete, and there is a new Xcel division with bronze, silver, gold and diamond levels. The meet will serve as a qualifier for the regional meet for levels 8, 9 and 10.
The Flipstarz will have 43 girls competing. The team is made up of gymnasts from Raleigh, Fayette, Mercer and Greenbrier counties who will be competing in their first and only in-person meet of the season. All others have been done so virtually.
Taylor Openlander will be making her final appearance for Flipstarz. The Woodrow Wilson senior received a scholarship for acrobatics and tumbling at Fairmont State, where she will join former Flipstarz teammate Madison Tabor.
Fellow senior Katie Haga will be unable to compete after suffering an injury during a virtual meet last week. She will attend WVU Tech and serve as a coach at Flipstarz.
Friday's competition will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday's schedule will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the meet will conclude Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Limited seating is available and social distancing and face coverings are required. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for kids. Children 4 and under will be admitted free.
"After a three-month break (due to Covid-19) and still being able to push through and continue is pretty amazing," Webb said. "This will be our first in-person meet of the 2021 season, so they're going to go out with a bang."