Talented local gymnast captures national title
By Ashley Shah
Scripps Ranch resident Chloe LaCoursiere, 17, won the title of 2022 National All Around Champion in her age bracket at the Developmental Program National Championship for women’s artistic gymnastics in May.
“Going into nationals, I was extremely nervous. My goal was to get top 10,” LaCoursiere said.
To qualify for nationals, the top seven gymnasts in each age bracket for level 10 gymnasts at regionals move on to nationals. Level 10 is the highest level a gymnast can reach, she said.
“I placed second at regionals. The top seven of us in
each age bracket for our region competed as a team at nationals,” she said.
There are four areas that gymnasts are judged on: bars,
beam, vault and floor.
“At nationals I competed a brand new vault, so I was nervous about that. I ended up landing on my feet, so that was a win, and my score held up,” LaCoursiere said.
She scored 9.750 out of 10 on vault, leading her to win first in her age group on vault.
“With bars, I was expected to win based on my past experiences with bars,” LaCoursiere said.
Receiving a 9.850 out of 10 placed her at first in her age group.
“I was really stressed about beam because I don’t tend to do the best on beam. I messed up the first couple of skills on beam, but finished strong and scored decently,” she said.
She scored a 9.200 out of 10.
“Going into floor after beam, my goal was to be top four, but I knew I needed a super good floor routine. I ended up doing my best floor routine,” she said.
LaCoursiere placed third in her age group with her score of 9.775 out of 10.
“After finishing my events, it was just a waiting game. I was able to cheer on my region. I was watching the scores get put up, and the rankings … and once I saw that I was in the top four, I was so happy,” she said. “I didn’t even know I had won first until the very end when they were handing out awards.”
LaCoursiere scored an overall 38.575 out of 40, which placed her first out of the 56 gymnasts competing in her age bracket.
“I always forget that I am capable of doing great gymnastics, and that moment reminded me of that,” she said.
LaCoursiere has been in gymnastics since she was about 4 years old.
“I went on a field trip when I was in preschool to a gym, and I just really liked it,” she said.
She started at Poway Gymnastics around that age, and around age 5, she joined the team and started competing.
From age 5 to 12, she stayed with Poway Gymnastics.
“When I entered fifth grade, I started practice from 6 to 8 a.m., then went to school, then had practice from 5 to 8:30 p.m.,” she said. “When I started sixth grade, I started doing New Directions (independent study) full time, and trained from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., then again from 5 to 8:30 p.m.”
At around age 13, LaCoursiere moved to Coastal Gymnastics Academy, and has been there ever since.
“Around the time I moved gyms, I had a lot of stress fractures, so it took about a year to heal from that,” she said. “Since starting high school, I go to my first three periods, and do New Directions part-time to make sure I get all my credits done. I go to the gym from about 1 to as late as I want. I just love being at the gym.”
She spoke about the challenges of managing school alongside gymnastics.
“When I first started high school, I wanted to take all of these hard classes and still continue gymnastics at the pace I was going at. It was going to be hard to balance, so I don’t take any classes that are too difficult, and it has really helped me have more time for gymnastics. It was a sacrifice I had to make, but it was well worth it,” she said.
The gymnastics competition season runs from December to May. Now, in her off season, she is taking it day by day.
“I’m just practicing and working to get better at the gym. I also have been coaching summer camps at the gym for younger kids, which is super fun. I’m at the gym almost all day,” she said.
Her future plans consist of improving and continuing gymnastics.
In November of 2021, LaCoursiere committed to the University of Alabama on a full-ride scholarship to continue gymnastics.
“The University of Alabama does really well in their gymnastics, so I thought it would be a good place to continue. They also just had a change in their coaching staff. I’m really excited to work with the new coaching staff, and the team is really great,” LaCoursiere said.
After spending more than a decade in this sport, she spoke about her lasting passion for it.
“I was just thinking about why I love this sport so much, and I think it’s because I know what this is really about. It’s about making lifelong friendships, getting better and better every day, and if you’re willing to put in the work, you can do whatever you want,” she said.
To follow more of LaCoursiere’s journey, visit her pages on Instagram @chloelacoursiere and @chloegym2005.