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Air time

Sisters love to jump around
By: Matt Long
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Who doesn’t love to get air? The Newman sisters from El Dorado Hills do and in more ways than one. Sydney, 14, and Samantha, 12, have been jumping on and competing in the sport of trampoline for six years and will compete in the Junior Olympic National competition to be held in San Jose on June 24-28. Sydney won the Northern California State Championship in the level 9, age 13-14 division, in Livermore on April 4 and also qualified in double mini, while Samantha qualified for Junior Olympic Nationals in trampoline, double mini and tumbling. Samantha won the tumbling championship in the level 6, age 13-14 division. Double mini is an event in which the girls run and jump on two trampolines in succession and showcase various skills and perform stunts. Not only are the girls talented, but they also love to jump. After switching from gymnastics to trampoline, there was no looking back. “I just love being in the air,” Sydney said. “I enjoy the wider span of tricks I can do (compared to gymnastics) and I enjoy practicing the skills.” Samantha has similar feelings on the sport of trampoline. “I like going high and challenging myself with what I need to do and what I need to work on,” Samantha said. Not surprising, the sisters both enjoy the same stunt on the trampoline. It’s called a “Rudi,” which is a front flip with a full twist and a half. Sydney also enjoys doing back flips, while Samantha likes tumbling. The girls practice three days a week at American Powerhouse Gym in Rocklin, and also have a trampoline in their back yard. Their coach, Susan Jacobson, said the girls have different strengths. “Sydney has taken many strides this year, overcoming fears of some of the upper level skills that she needed to learn,” Jacobson said. “She is very focused at the technical details and that benefits her because this is very much a precision sport so her focus and maturity helps her. She’s also become a strong leader on the team and others look up to her. “Samantha is a performer and a true competitor. Her best strength is her resiliency. If she runs into a problem, her lighthearted and fun personality allow her to just attack it again. She’s not spooked by anything. She’s very driven. Being the little sister, she’s always pushing herself to keep up with or surpass Sydney. She’s also matured a lot this year.” In trampoline the girls are judged on the skills they can do along with their technique and form. Their routines only last about 15 seconds, but if they make any mistakes, they’re done. If a gymnast falls off the balance beam, they jump up and get back on; but one mistake on the trampoline and the competitor is finished. Jacobson said both have a good chance to do well at the Junior Olympic Nationals, even in the highly competitive meet. “Sydney’s been very consistent all season and has taken home plenty of gold medals, so if she can maintain that consistency, I think she’s got a chance to finish near the top,” Jacobson said. “If Samantha hits her routine, she could also do well in her division.” Sydney placed eighth out of 14 competitors in the Junior Olympics last year in Kansas and will be looking to improve upon that performance. With gold medals in every competition she’s entered this year, she feels like she’s got a good chance to do well this year. Samantha is hoping to win the tumbling competition and hopes to do her best in the trampoline. Last year in her first national meet, she placed third in tumbling and sixth in the trampoline.