By Rob Kiser
When she started gymnastics as a young girls, former Piqua standout Ivee Kaye could have never envisioned the journey the sport would take her on.
After advancing to the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association meet as a freshman for Glenville State last year, Kaye can now call herself a national champion a year later while competing for Hawaii Pacific.
The daughter of Scott Kaye and Marcy Clay teamed with Nicole Saiki, Trina Salas and Harley Didriksen to win the Five-Element Acro national title in the event hosted by Azusa Pacific in Azusa, Cal.
“I came to Hawaii Pacific for their nursing program,” Kaye, a sophomore said. “With this being my first year at Hawaii Pacific, I had no idea that I’d ever win a national championship. Being a rookie i was not expecting it.”
The meet had begun with the team competition and Hawaii Pacific suffered a heartbreaking loss to the host team 272.735 to 271.095 after leading before two falls in the tumbling competition cost them.
“Losing to Azusa was hard, we had already played them two times before and we beat them both times,” Kaye said. “It was just a really unfortunate loss and hard to accept. But, it did push me to make sure event nationals went perfect because even though we didn’t win that, we still had other opportunities to bring home wins.”
Hawaii Pacific did exactly that.
Not only did Kaye and her teammates record a 9.90 to win the Five Acro Element title, Hawaii Pacific also recorded individual titles in the Pyramid Flip and Pyramid release.
In Acrobatics and Tumbling, scores are not read off until the competition is over, so Kaye and her teammates had no idea where they stood until it was announced that they were national champions.
“We had no idea what score we got,” Kaye said. “Every one goes and then we wait to see the outcome. It was so nerve wracking and the best feeling ever once they called our name.”
That’s when it hit her that she was a national champion.
“I was filled with so much joy, all of us were crying and it just makes all of the many hours of practice, injuries, tears, and bad practices worth it,” she said.
And she has big expectations for the next two years.
“My goal for next year is to win more national championships,” she said. “I want to get myself into as many events as possible, not only individually but as a team.”
And continue the journey, Kaye never could have imagined as a young girl.
“Looking back I never would thought I’d end up where I’d be today,” Kaye said. “It was so rewarding putting endless hours at the gym in and being in Hawaii has been the best thing i could ever imagine. I’m so grateful for my parents who pushed me everyday and always being there for me.”
And gave her the opportunity to take an amazing journey that led to a national title.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.