Brenden Peuhl, an upcoming fifth-grade student at Sylvania's Stranahan Elementary, recently placed first in the floor-exercise category at the National Gymnastics Meet in Milwaukee.
Brenden, who lives with his parents, Theresa Mariea and George Peuhl, in Sylvania, is part of a YMCA-sponsored gymnastics team based in Perrysburg.
"He's been on their team for three years," Ms. Mariea said. She said her son has had to keep a qualifying score throughout the year and had to qualify before he was invited to the national meet. Team practice comprises about seven hours per week of her son's time.
At the meet, she said, he suspected he might have placed high in the category, based on his performance.
"I think he was excited and a little shocked," Ms. Mariea said. "He said to me, ‘Mom, do you think I could possibly be first or second?' and I said I didn't know. It's hard to keep track of all of the other scores."
She said she didn't want to get his hopes up about a possible win, but when his name was announced, Brenden was excited.
Brenden said he was really happy when he saw his score. He said he had a feeling he was going to score high in the competition and felt very proud when he stood on the stage and received his award.
Although the national meet is over, he will train for the rest of the summer, before returning back to compete in fall.
"They compete in leagues in the fall and there will be another national gymnastics meet next year. It's definitely a year- round commitment," Ms. Mariea said.
But the path to success for her son has been one he has been working toward since a young age.
"We started him in classes when he was about 5," she said. Her son is currently a level-five gymnast and he has the goal of making it to level 10. "It's a pretty high goal."
Moving up levels is based on skill requirements.
"There are certain skills on each event that the boys can accomplish. They don't want to move kids up when they're not quite ready," she said, adding that it is based more on skill than on years of experience.
Brenden also took home other awards, in addition to first place in the floor exercise. He placed third on the parallel bars event and took home third place in the all-around category. While his family, including his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents said they are happy of his success at the national meet, Ms. Mariea said her son will continue working toward his ultimate goal.
"If he wants to be a level 10, he'll need more than 7 hours a week," she said, citing his current practice schedule.
Contact Kelly McLendon at email@example.com or 419-206-0356.