BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - 14-year-old Haley Kim, an 8th grader at West Wortham Middle School, has been performing at high standards in the highly competitive field of gymnastics. She says her mother had set a different path, but one that would keep her flying through the air.
"When I was 16 months old my mom put me into gymnastics because she thought I would follow her and be a cheerleader but plans changed. I loved it and have been here ever since.
Kim's favorite events are the uneven bars and the balance beam. All the time and effort spent practicing has been paying off, leading up to the big regional event next month.
Kim said,"I'm about to go to Level 9 Regional's and happy that I made it and just excited to be blessed enough to go there and then I hope to go to Level 10. That's always been my goal."
15-year-old Sarah Edwards, a freshman at Ocean Springs High School is a veteran when you consider she started at a young age.
Edwards said,"I was 3-years-old and I've been in gymnastics for 12 years now."
Edwards consistently excels in state and regional competitions and has become one of the top female gymnast in the vault, securing a 9.75, one of the highest scores at the state meet. She recently attended a gymnastics camp in Alabama and the University of Alabama gymnastics coach took notice.
"She just absolutely loved my vault, so I was really excited because that's one of the places that I want to go, just somewhere in the South,"stated Edwards.
Coaches Cindy Wallace and Amanda Zeigler keep a watchful eye over Edwards and Kim who are dedicated when you consider they spend 20 hours in the gym each week at Lanier's Gym and private lessons over the weekend.
Wallace said,"They push each other. They're very good friends so they're great for each other in the gym and they have both been in gymnastics for a long time, love it and very dedicated, motivated and just great girls."