AMHERST, N.Y.-Alex Wittenberg, a Kenmore West Junior, and Gage Greiner, a Starpoint Senior, have qualified for the 2013 USA Gymnastics Junior National Championships. Wittenberg and Greiner will compete in Portland, Oregon this weekend, May 3rd through May 5th, in hopes of placing in a few events, gaining experience, and most importantly having fun.
"I'm super excited, it's the first time that I have actually qualified so it's a nice way to end my senior year. It's also going to be awesome to go with my teammate Alex. We've been together since I was six years old" said Senior Gage Greiner. Wittenberg and Greiner both train and compete with the Greater Buffalo Gymnastics and Fitness Center with their coach Michael Morse. " Alex and Gage are both really hard workers in the gym, they are here twenty hours a week plus sometimes" said Coach Morse. Wittenberg and Greiner have put in the work this year and have been rewarded with an invite to the Junior National Championships in Oregon this weekend.
" This is the fourth year I've qualified for Junior Nationals, it's just always a really fun time to get to know all the other guys, and it's a good environment to see all the other competition around the country" said Junior Alex Wittenberg. The Junior Nationals features the best male gymnasts in the country from ages 11-18, and you may even see some of these young men that are competing this weekend in the Olympics in the future. Wittenberg added " A lot of the best gymnasts at the Junior Olympics end up going either to the training center or college, then move to the Olympics. Usually future Olympians are competing in the Junior Olympic Championships". Even with all this amazing competition they will be facing Wittenberg and Greiner are optimistic about their chances this weekend. " This year I hope I can have some solid performances on a few events and maybe place high on at least one event" said Wittenberg. Greiner added " I want to go in and hit all my sets the best that I can. Once I'm done with this I'm probably going to do club gymnastics at the University of Buffalo, but for me this is definitely one of my last and most memorable meets that I'll have".
One of Gage's best events is the Pommel Horse, which happens to be his favorite. " Gage is the State Champion this year on the Pommel Horse, and hopefully if he can hit his set, and stay consistent who knows what might happen" said Coach Morse. Both Wittenburg and Greiner would be more than satisfied to walk away from this weekend having placed in an event, but both commented on how great this experience is for them. " It's such a driving force, you see all those guys that are so much better than you, and you just want to get back in the gym and work twice as hard to get just as good as they are" said Wittenburg.
Lastly, Coach Morse added what may be in store for the future of these two Gymnasts. " Who knows what may be in the future for them. A lot of Gymnasts are looking at maybe competing in college, that's a big goal for a lot of kids that will be at Junior Nationals, and getting the attention of college coaches".