Mas Watanabe Invitational 2016


AUBURN - The reaction on the faces of the three Level 6 boys, Christopher Otis, Beck Thomas and Zeph Thomas, from Auburn Gymnastics Center was priceless when the announcer called out their team to head to the podium - it was a first for the three standing with smiles from ear to ear.

The trio beat out 15 other gymnastics teams to earn the bronze team award for level 6 at the 2016 Mas Watanabe Invitational - a feat that has never happened for Auburn Gymnastics Center level 6 boys.

“We were all so pumped,” Coach Natalie Otis said. “They, celebrated and took the team banner and even signed it.”

The celebrations continued throughout the weekend as the Level 4 and 5 teams from Auburn Gymnastics Center also traveled to Elk Grove, Calif. for a weekend full of gymnastics competitions that ended with 10 division champions.

At the top of the podium five times was 7-year-old Kannon Rector who won 1st on pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and the all-around.

“Kannon was the Level 4 state champion last year and has come out swinging as a level 5 this year,” Otis said. “This guy is only 7-years-old and a great athlete.”

Level 4 Johnathan Lyda, competing in his first gymnastics competition ever, walked away with gold on the rings as well as bronze on the pommel horse, parallel bar and all-around.

Level 6 Zeph Thomas came away with a weekend highlight and won 1st on the vault with a near perfect score of 10.2 out of a possible 10.7 as well as 1st on the high bar with a 10.3.

Level 5 Gavin Otis won the rings with a 10.2 while level 6, Christopher Otis, nailed his vault to earn a 9.6 and the gold as well as a 3rd place finish on the parrell bars.

Level 5 Kohen Rugg was 2nd on high bar and 3rd on vault and pommel horse ending with a 57.7 all-around and Beck Thomas, level 6, took the 3rd place award for his pommel horse routine.

“There definably were some standout routines for this early in the season,” Otis said. “We are always pushing to make improvements and get back at it, so this season should be a good one.”

Bowman Charter School 4th grader, Parker Steinman, had his best routines of the weekend on the parraell bars with a 9.9 while Alex Harris placed highest on the vault with a 9.3.

Level 5, Carson Medlyn, stood out on the rings with a 9.1 and new level 4, Daniel Medrano was in the top 5 on the vault with a 9.5.

Also new to competitve gymnastics Aiden Kucera-Meyer was in the top 10 on the vault with a 9.3, Wyatt Walker stood out on vault with an 8.8 and John Wood performed the best on the pommel horse with an 8.0.

“We have 12 of our 14 guys all competing up a level from last season and for 5 of those this was their first competition ever just to put things into perspective,” Otis said. “These boys are fun to watch as their rise up in this sport and we’re very excited.”

The team will travel to San Diego, Calif. on Jan. 28 for their next competitive meet joining the girls’ team for the San Diego Cup.



Auburn Gymnastics Center specializes in teaching gymnastics to children of all ages and abilities and features a special needs gymnastics program that offers scholarships.

Call (530) 823-2031 or go to for more information.