SPORTS

Local acro trio competes in Portugal

Audrey Alvarez, Maya Bajdarvanov and Sydney Dorais strike a pose in a plaza before the Maia International Acro Cup & World Cup in Maia, Portugal. (courtesy photo)

Local acro trio competes in Portugal

Three local girls who perform as an acrobatic gymnastic trio just added another impressive feat to their resume representing the USA Gymnastics National Team in an international competition in Portugal this month.

Thirteen-year-old Scripps Ranch resident Sydney Dorais and her teammates, 12-year-olds Audrey Alvarez and Maya Bajdarvanov, are the youngest members of the national team. They’re also the first trio in the county to make it onto the national team.

The girls competed against 36 other trios from around the world in the 11 to 16 age group at the Maia International Acro Cup & World Cup in Maia, Portugal on March 6-11.

Members of the USA Gymnastics National Team’s acrobatic gymnastic trio are (clockwise from top left) Maya Bajdarvanov, Sydney Dorais and Audrey Alvarez. (courtesy photo)

Unfortunately, they made an error on their balance routine which brought a big deduction, keeping them out of the finals. However, they did amazing, according to Sydney’s mom Jennifer Dorais, who went with them on the trip. They just wanted to do their best to make everyone proud and represent their country well, she added.

“The girls are having the time of their lives,” Dorais wrote in an email from Portugal. “It is intense training preparing for competition, but they are making friends with other gymnasts from all over the world. It is incredible to see them have this experience.”

Dorais said this is only the second year the girls have been competing as a trio and last season they were state and regional champions. She said they took people by surprise when they made it onto the national team after tryouts in Missouri last December. 

“The coach and all the parents agreed that it would be a good experience to go there and see what it would be like to compete among the best in the country,” Dorais said. “None of us thought they would have any chance of making it because they are so young and have only been together for such a short time.”

Acrobatic gymnastics pairs two or more athletes together to perform acrobatic moves, dance and tumbling set to music. It merged with USA Gymnastics in 2002. The sport consists of two routines – dynamic and balance – each of which is two-minutes long.

The trio trains five days a week for 3 to 4 hours per day at Flip Force San Diego gym in Miramar. They are coached by Patricia Nobre, who Dorais calls the hardest working coach she’s ever seen.

“She writes up assignments specific for each group or pair every month, listens to music for routines, designs competition leotards, has 2 a.m. meetings with the people that hand make our competition leotards in Portugal, glues on extra gems for the leotards, and organizes all the competition schedules for our team,” Dorais said. “She really loves what she does and she is very good at it.”

The girls won first place in a recent competition in Riverside. Next up for them is a tournament in Las Vegas.

A close family friend of Dorais, Bill Ausen, who’s known Sydney since she was born, said seeing the girls perform live is quite impressive.

“It’s really amazing when you see the things that they do – the strength, the balance, the agility, the flexibility,” Ausen said. “And it’s not just that, this is teaching the girls not only commitment but also teamwork. If one of them slacks off, they can’t win. They’re learning these life skills that are so important. They’re trusting and relying on their team members to be where they are supposed to be.”

Dorais said the trio’s goal is to keep their spot on the national team each year and eventually make it to the senior elite level to compete in the World Cup. Dorais said she hopes they inspire young athletes and are role models in the sport.

“You could not ask for a better group of girls,” she said. “All three of them work so hard and give it their all at every practice. They are humble and gracious and appreciate everything they have earned. I am proud of them as incredible athletes and amazing young women.”

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