Regina student among top gymnasts

Adeline Kenlin

By Celine Klosterman

Adeline Kenlin has a work ethic unusual for an 8-year-old, according to one of her two gymnastics coaches.

“She’s got a lot of tenacity. She works very hard,” said Mary Wise, who with Paige Roth trains Adeline at Iowa Gym-Nest in Coralville.

That drive helped the third-grader at Regina Elementary in Iowa City qualify recently for the 2010 USA Gymnastics National TOP (Talent Opportunity Program) team. She, Roth and Wise will thus travel to Huntsville, Texas, Dec. 1-5 for the National TOP training camp, where USA Gymnastics representatives will guide the coaches in developing the child’s potential. “She was identified as one of the most talented kids in the country, and they want us to keep an eye on her,” Wise said.

Adeline is among 57 U.S. gymnasts ages 8-11 who were named to the team following regional evaluations this summer and tryouts in Texas in early October.


“I was very excited,” she said of discovering she’d made the team.

“It’s such an honor,” said her mother, Sara Sanders. “To see all her hard work starting to pay off is a huge deal to me. She’s so committed, and as a mom, I’m just so happy for her.”

Sanders enrolled Adeline in gymnastics classes just before the child turned 2, after another mother suggested the sport might improve Adeline’s muscle development. Then, Adeline was working to overcome the effects of malnourishment she’d suffered before Sanders and her husband adopted the child from China when she was 14 months old.

Gymnastics not only helped, but became Adeline’s passion. “We used to have to rearrange the routes we drove around town because if she saw Gym-Nest, she’d start crying to go there and saying ‘-nastics!’” Sanders recalled.

Today, floor and balance beam exercises are Adeline’s favorites. “I get to do cool tricks,” she said.

She hopes the Olympics might be in her future; she’ll be 18 during the 2020 summer games. Wise noted very few gymnasts make it to that competition, but “it’s possible. We’d love to see it happen.”

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