The gymnasts — who range in age from 6 to 17 — compete in tumbling and trampoline events, and are students of longtime coach Vern Vargas, owner of the Vargas Academy in Scotts Valley.
“This will be our second nationals as a team,” said Vargas. The last time his gymnasts made nationals was in 2010, the first year of his academy.
To qualify for the national championships, Vargas said, the gymnasts can qualify at the state championships or at the preceding regional finals.
Out of more than 400 gymnasts to compete, all 12 of his gymnasts qualified for nationals at the regional finals, he said, which were held between May 3 and 5 in Bakersfield.
To qualify for nationals, Vargas said, gymnasts “have two routines to perform at each event, and that gives them their total score and determines if they make it to nationals or not.”
Since all 12 qualified for nationals at the regionals, he said, the upcoming state competition — scheduled for this weekend in Santa Clara — “is more of a practice meet now,” Vargas said.
The nationals are scheduled for June 11 to 15 in Spokane, Wash. for gymnasts in the fourth through seventh skill level. For skill levels of 8 and up, the nationals will be held July 15 to 19, in Louisville, Ky.
Vargas said that the academy's traveling teams are funded by support from parents and boosters.
Seventeen-year-old Max Glynn, along with Yuval Borensein, 10, and Tiki Mattingly, 9 — all rated at Level 8 — are among the 12 gymnasts that qualified for nationals in Bakersfield, where all three placed first in their events.
“We've all been there before,” said Glynn, who added that he was looking forward to the opening ceremonies.
Mattingly said that he was also looking forward to the trip.
“I've been doing gymnastics for years,” he said. “So I'm looking forward to competing.”
For more information about the Vargas Academy, visit http://vargasacademy.com