HANOVER TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Level 10 gymnast Payton Monk trains at Northeast Gymnastics in Hanover Township with head coach Lori Dexter. In the junior F division for 16-year-olds she recently competed at Lewisburg in a regional competition and qualified for the USA Gymnastics Development Program National Championships in Daytona Beach Florida. The two-day event begins on Sunday in the vault, floor exercise, uneven bars and the balance beam.
"It is a crazy big honor just to represent my team and the sport that I love," said Payton.
"She just loves competing She is very dynamic and very confident. She is very good in every event. A little weaker on bars but that is coming along. That is just more of a confidence thing. But she is just amazing to watch and is exciting to watch. She just kind of pulls you in," said Lori.
Of the four events Payton competes in the floor exercise by far is her favorite.
"It's like fun. I don't know. You can just like express yourself and dance around. I like dancing," added Payton.
A 9.6 in the floor exercise was her high mark. She followed that up with a 9.45 on the beam. Payton started gymnastics here at Northeast when she was 8 years old.
"I was about 8 years old when I started team, but I was younger then that when I started classes. Have you always come here? Yeah! I was at a birthday party one year," again said Payton.
"We just went in and had a good time. She was relaxed. She did everything that she needed to do and it just worked out. Actually friends of mine told me that she made it, because I wasn't keeping track, because actually I don't like to. I like to be in the moment and see how the results play out and she made it and it was just aww fabulous," added Lori.
With a top 4 finish in Florida Payton qualifies for the USA Development Program National Team. There are 100 other girl's from around the country competing for those 4 spots.
"Good luck at nationals Payton," said the team.
Steve Lloyd Newswatch 16 sports Luzerne County.