A gymnast from Hazard battled some tough competition and brought home some first place medals from the recent Junior Olympics.
Katherine Grace Epperson competed in the AAU National Meet as a member of the AAU National Stars of Tomorrow and Team Kentucky in Tumbling and Trampoline at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas.
In her third year of competing nationally, Epperson ended her preliminary rounds in first place both in Tumbling and Trampoline, and three-tenths of a point behind the leader in Double-Mini. She then went on to finish in first place and became the AAU National Champion 9-year-old Beginner Division for Tumbling, Double-Mini and Trampoline, where she beat representatives from 16 other states.
At the end of the competition, Epperson then performed with the AAU National Stars of Tomorrow team. While there, she was selected to be interviewed by Houston’s local Chinese television station.
“Very few athletes can attend the AAU Junior Olympics and win gold medals in all three of their competitive events,” said Epperson’s coach, Vernetta Duncan-Cole. “It comes down to hard work and dedication.”
Epperson’s success at this year’s Junior Olympics follows up a gold medal haul in New Orleans last year, when she won three gold medals for Tumbling, Trampoline and Double-Mini, and made the national team.
Epperson has been a member of Studios Unlimited Tumblers for the past six years, and is also coached by Christina Cole, Angela Duncan-Baker, April Millar and Amber Donaldson. She is the daughter of John and Sheila Epperson of Hazard, and the little sister of John Kolby and William Tyler Epperson of Hazard. She is a fifth grader at Hazard Middle School.