BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Hard work paid off for Sawyer Haiss as he finished in first place at the 2017 Men’s Gymnastics State Competition for his age and level.
“I was really excited,” said the 11-year-old who is a sixth grader at Sashabaw Middle School when they announced his name. “I knew I had a higher score but based off the other people who were medaling I wasn’t sure I was going to get first place.”
Haiss trains at Flipspot Gymnastics and Cheer in Orion Township. He competes in all the Olympic events – floor, high bar, parallel bars, vault rings and pommel horse.
His favorite is the horizonal bars.
“I can do the best skills on it, and I find it the easiest to do more,” he said.
“He practices all year long,” said mom, Lisa. “They never get a break. It’s the only sport he does. For him to work all year long for such a short season is quite a time commitment and a passion.”
Sawyer moves on to the regional event this Saturday where he will compete against gymnasts from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.
“I am excited by nervous,” Sawyer admitted, adding he doesn’t know how many competitors will be there.
No matter how many gymnasts are there he will stick to focusing on his routines and blocks out everyone else.
Sawyer joined gymnastics when he was 5-years-old.
Lisa explained the family moved around the country quite a bit when he was younger.
“We were living in Kentucky in a temporary condo and he was just bouncing off the walls,” she said. “I decided to try him in something he could burn off some of his energy. It progress from there.”
Sawyer added he enjoys it because he likes to flip around.
His advice to aspiring athletes is hard work and dedication pays off.
“If you really want to get something practice it over and over,” he said. “You will eventually get it. Don’t give up.”