Story by Tamas Mondovics
Newsome High School sophomore and talented gymnast, Jaden Haley, 15, has every reason to celebrate after winning the Level Nine Eastern National Gold Medal on Vault this spring in Lansing, Michigan.
Haley, who trains 16.5 hours per week at Lakewood Ranch Gymnastics in Bradenton, under owner and coach Laura Parraga is currently the Florida State Champion on Vault.
“Jaden is a faithful, hardworking young lady,” Parraga said. “She is naturally strong and has great power. She is a joy to coach and we are so excited to watch where her gymnastics takes her.”
Aside from crediting her coaches, teammates, family, and friends, whom she said has been supporting her and bringing me to this point, Haley credits her success to another source. “I would especially like to thank God because I believe that all my accomplishments have come as blessings from him. I feel very blessed to have won the title of national champion on vault; I was and am extremely happy.”
Haley’s success and competition highlights include:
2014 Level 7 – State Champion Beam
State Champion Floor
2015 Level 8 – State Champion Vault
2015 Level 8 – Vault-America’s Top 100
2016 Level 9 – State Silver Medalist, Vault
2016 Level 9 – Regional Qualifier
2016 Level 9 – Vault America’s Top 100
To reach her goals, Haley said takes a lot of mental perseverance.
“Gymnastics, while a very physically demanding sport, challenges you the most mentally,” she said. “Your thoughts can really get to you and be an obstacle to what you want to achieve. But if you can find it within you to push past this, you can accomplish anything.”
Since winning the level nine national title, Haley plans to move forward to make upgrades to her routines and to become a level 10 gymnast this coming season.
As a gymnast, Haley is also working to earn an athletic scholarship.
To encourage others, the young gymnast wants her teammates to always remember why they started gymnastics.
“A lot of times as you get more competitive in the sport you can easily get lost in the stress and pressure,” she said. “You should always remember that little girl or boy who loved the sport and push through it for them. Find that passion.”
Haley added that she believes everything happens for a reason and has its purpose.
“There will be bad days and bad things that happen to you, but that doesn’t define your future; you control that. You should always be open to change. One thing you do differently can make the difference in your performance and in the long run. By making those changes you can reach your full potential.”