Chandler’s Allan Bower, a gymnast at Xtreme Gymnastics in Scottsdale, took second overall in Level 9 all-around, third on floor and became the parallel bars national champion at the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympics, held May 8-9 at Battle Creek, Mich. He finished in the top 10 in the other three events in a field of 280.
Bower, 13, also made the U.S. Junior Olympic national team, for the third year in a row.
“As Allan is now one of the very top young athletes in the U.S. and the U.S. is one of the top gymnastics countries in the world, this means that Allan is now one of the top gymnasts for his age in the world,” said Christopher Sommer, his coach.
As a member of the national team, Bower will attend two special camps — in July and October — at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“Some of the finest clinicians, coaches and facilities in the world are made available to help Allan and I to maximize his potential,” Sommer said.
Bower, who was joined in Battle Creek by gym mates Zachary Buzzard and Gregory Erb, improved on a 10th-place finish in the all-around at last year’s event. “I worked a little harder, was more focused and coach had me do more conditioning,” he said.
The seventh-grader at Payne Junior High in Chandler is a normal teenager. He likes to ride bikes, hang out with his friends and play video games. Except he squeezes this in with 4 to 5 hours of work at the gym Monday through Saturday. “It’s challenging,” Bower said. “It helps me keep strong and I get to travel to a lot of places and meet a lot of people.”
Bower has Olympic aspirations, but in the meantime is looking ahead to the international Junior Olympics event set for the summer of 2010 in Singapore.
“I got a couple of days off this week,” Bower said Tuesday. “But I’m going back to the gym and hope to do some Level 10 stuff. We’ll work on my release moves and stuff on the high bar.”
And Sommer has other great things in store for his prize pupil.
“If all goes well, next season will be Allan’s first international competition experiences,” said Sommer, who has Bower slated to travel to Miami in January to compete with gymnasts from Central and South America, as well as a competition in March where he will go to Germany to take on gymnasts from Europe and Asia.
“We are very excited about his accomplishments this weekend. Allan has really worked hard to reach these achievements,” Bower’s mother Jane said.
WORKING HIS WAY BACK
Jane Bower, the recreational program director for Mesa’s Desert Devils gymnastics, has ties to another East Valley gymnast who is celebrating a victory of his own: taking major steps toward getting back into a gym.
Last fall, 20-year-old Garrett Tanner of Mesa, was a coach and instructor at Desert Devils. Today, the 2006 Mesa Mountain View High graduate is wheelchair-bound but undergoing therapy at Project Walk in Carlsbad, Calif.
On Nov. 7, 2007, after teaching his last gymnastics class, Tanner was doing double front flips off the trampoline, “something I had been doing since I was nine years old.”
But that night he landed on his head and suffered a C5 spinal cord injury. Tanner, a once-active young man headed to college to pursue a marketing degree, could not move. After three months at Barrows Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Tanner came home with limited mobility in his arms and shoulders but no feeling below his chest. However, he is determined to become independent again, which led him to find Project Walk. The facility can provide him with specialized therapy and care and hopefully get him literally back on his feet.
“They are continuing his evaluations and still setting up his therapy,” Jane Bower said. “He was always outgoing, very positive and upbeat and he still is.”
Bower spoke with Tanner after he arrived at Project Walk on April 28. “He told me ‘one day I’m going to be walking back into that gym,’ ” she said.
With his treatment projected to cost about $1,200 per week, several fundraisers have been conducted through Desert Devils and others to assist Tanner’s family with the expenses involved in Project Walk.
Visit www.gogarrett.org to meet this young man and see what you can do to help.
The Valley of the Sun will host the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup soccer tournament this weekend at Scottsdale Park on Hayden and Princess roads.
The U.S. Open Cup is the most prestigious tournament in the country, and is open to all United States Soccer Federation affiliated teams from amateur adult club to professional teams from Major League Soccer.
Two years ago, the Arizona Sahuaros were a goal away from playing MLS’s Real Salt Lake in the third round of the Open Cup.
Visit evtrib.com for the complete schedule for this weekend’s tournament.
The weekend will also feature a men’s amateur tournament with three teams from Arizona (Flickas FC, Diamonds FC and Inferno), a three-team Men’s Over-30 tourney with one team from Arizona (Big Ballers) and a two-team Women’s Over-30 championship between AZ Premier and Forza (Washington) at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Schedule for this weekend’s U.S. Open Cup at Scottsdale Park
Men’s Open Division
(Teams with league/state they represent)
NPSL SW – Arizona Sahuaros
NPSL NW – Salinas Valley Sambas
Arizona – Rockstar United
NPSL NW – Sonoma County Sol
NPSL SW – San Diego United
Arizona – Banat Arsenal
California South – Hollywood United
NPSL NW – San Jose Breakers
Schedule of Games
Friday 8 p.m.
Group A: Arizona Sahuaros vs. Salinas Valley Samba – Field 1
Group A: Rockstar United vs. Sonoma County Sol – Field 2
Group B: SD United vs. Banat Arsenal – Field 3
Group B: Hollywood United vs. San Jose Breakers – Field 4
Saturday 10 a.m.
Group A: Salinas Valley Samba vs. Sonoma Cty Sol – Field 3
Group B: Banat Arsenal vs. San Jose Breakers – Field 1
Group A: Rockstar United vs. Arizona Sahuaros – Field 4
Group B: Hollywood United vs. SD United – Field 2
Saturday 6 p.m.
Group A: Sonoma County Sol vs. Arizona Sahuaros – Field 2
Group A: Salinas Valley Samba vs. Rockstar United – Field 3
Group B: San Jose Breakers vs. SD United – Field 4
Group B: Banat Arsenal vs. Hollywood United – Field 1
Sunday 10 a.m.
Championship – Group A winner vs. Group B winner – Field 1
Scottsdale Park Ranch Sports Complex was recognized as one of the top 50 tennis centers in the United States for its “Outstanding Service in Promoting the Sport of Tennis” through its programs which welcome new players to the game.
The center, located at 10400 E. Via Linda, offers 12 lighted tennis courts, four lighted racquetball courts and one lighted squash court among many other outdoor amenities at the park. For tennis court reservations, call (480) 312-7774.