Monday, Jan. 19, 2009 | 3:10 p.m.
For local athletes from Brown's Gymnastics, competitions typically involve traveling out of state, staying in hotels and performing at a strange venue.
But this past weekend the gymnasts had the rare opportunity to compete before friends and family in their hometown as Brown's Gymnastics hosted the Lady Luck Invitational at the South Point.
More than 1,200 gymnasts from the novices of level 3 through the highly-advanced level 10 gathered for the event. Most were from California and Arizona, but some from as far as Oklahoma and Virginia.
"Our goal for this meet is to have it run smoothly and to make a proud name for Las Vegas," Browns Gymnastics owner and coach Dayna Waroe said. "The meet has gone great. We want people to want to come back to this venue."
Despite scattering a number of falls throughout the evening, the level 10 gymnasts from Brown's finished second out of 13 squads with a team score of 109.775, behind the 110.225 that Bay Aerials of California scored.
The highest scoring local gymnast was Henderson resident Asi Peko, who finished third overall and first in her age group with an all-around score of 37.175. Peko, 14, also had the highest overall scores on the vault (9.625) and balance beam (9.550).
A recent ankle injury kept Peko from practicing her floor routines for a week leading up to the competition and she suffered a fall on the event, earning a score of 9.900. She also took a tumble on balance beam, earning another 9.900.
"When you're hosting, you have more pressure because everyone is looking at you and thinking your team is going to be the best there," Peko said. "I think we dealt with that well. We could have had a better meet but we'll learn from our mistakes."
Peko, who last summer earned one of 12 spots on the USA Gymnastics Junior National Team, said Lady Luck is always a highlight of her year.
"It's one of our bigger meets because it's our meet," she said. "We get to work the meet and cheer on our little ones that compete. It's probably the most fun meet we have."
Centennial Hills resident Randii Wyrick took third in her age group and tied for fifth of all level 10 gymnasts with a 36.525 all-around score. Wyrick's best event was vault, as she earned a 9.500 to finish third in her age group and fourth overall. She also earned an 8.775 on bars, a 9.000 on beam and a 9.250 on floor.
"Competing (in Las Vegas) makes it a lot more fun because there are more friends and family here cheering you on," Wyrick, 15, said. "That makes it 10 times easier knowing they're here supporting you. The energy level here is unbelievable."
Henderson resident and Bob Miller Middle School seventh grader Tiffani Lewis competed in her first level 10 meet and enjoyed a breakout performance, Waroe said.
Lewis, 12, took second in her age group with a 35.875 score in the all-around. Her scores in the vault (9.425) and bars (9.150) both were the best of her age group. She also took third in the balance beam (9.250) before suffering her only mistakes of the night on floor, in which she earned a 8.050.
"Tiffani was amazing," Waroe said. "She made some silly mistakes on floor, but most first-time level 10 gymnasts would done that on all four events. Her first three events were bang, bang, bang."
Lewis said the meet gave her confidence.
"I was kind of nervous but I think I did pretty good for my first meet at level 10," Lewis said. "It felt good knowing I can compete with most of my friends on level 10."
Brown's Gymnastics didn't have all of its level 10 gymnasts healthy for the competition. Henderson resident and Bishop Gorman student Margo Lindstrom competed just one event, as she hyper-extended her leg during her vault and had to leave for the hospital. And Henderson resident Julia Ross missed the event with a knee injury suffered a week prior.
Christopher Drexel can be reached at 990-8929 or [email protected].