California State Champion from Auburn Gymnastics Center!


AUBURN- A pointed toe. A straight leg. A stuck landing.

Auburn Gymnastics Center Auburn, CA

After the win in San Luis Obispo on Sunday, the new 2014 level 4 State Champion celebrates with his medal.

Beck Thomas at just 8-years-old had all of those and more to offer at the 2014 Level 4 State Championships in San Luis Obispo on Sunday taking home the coveted state

championship medal and setting a new personal record for Auburn Gymnastics Center’s boys’ gymnastics program with four first place finishes at one meet.

“This is just unbelievable,” said Coach Natalie Otis of the win. “I thought we had a chance, but I didn’t think we were going to pull it off.”

According to the coach, Thomas started the meet rough with a fall on the parallel bars and then suited up for the high bar and battled back with a knock out performance.

Auburn Gymnastics Center

Beck Thomas, 8, performs on the rings earning a 10.6 and working up to a 1st place win on Sunday.

His high bar routine scored an 11.6, just .01 from the highest possible score and was just one of a fist full of stellar routines one after another that day.

“I whispered in his ear that he had to find a way to get back the points he lost on the first event and he just nodded,” she said of the young gymnast.

The men’s gymnastics events are floor, vault, pommel horse, rings, high bar and the parallel bars. Thomas won all-around, pommel horse, high bar and most importantly to him - rings.

The strong 3rd grade boy from Bowman Charter School has had his eye on winning rings at state all season. “The

rings are my favorite,” he said with a nod and a smile.

Rings were a good event for the whole team on Sunday. Thomas earned a 10.6, Christopher Otis, a 10.1, Kohen Rugg, a 10.0 and Kyle Verweij a 9.9.

“That’s another Auburn stick,” Otis said to her team at the end of each routine.

They stuck four in a row ring routines at State – that’s hard for them.

The phrase, “that’s another Auburn stick,” has been chanted around the Palm Avenue gymnastics facility all week leading up to the important meet where sticking a landing means you get an extra .01 added to your score. The line came from a group trip the team made to watch the Stanford Men’s Gymnastics team last week.

Auburn Gymnastics Center

Beck Thomas concentrates on his task at hand on while putting on his high-bar grips.

“The announcer at the competition with Stanford, California Golden Bears, as well all-star teams from Canada, Finland, Japan and Norway was giving away a shirt for every stuck landing and we just kind of adopted it,” Otis said. “Hey, it works.”

The State Championship meet was a final one for the quad of fine gymnast who have pushed their way into recognition this season. Christopher Otis was strong on the parallel bars rings and vault where he took top five and ended in the top 10 in the all-around, Kyle Verweij ended 4th on the pommel horse and 5th on floor while Kohen Rugg put up big scores on the rings with a 10.0 – a season best.

“Just even the words State Championships can de-rail some kids and our team wasn’t any different – they had nerves and an hour time change to battle though and they had upsets and battled back and that is what it all comes down to that never give up attitude that we as coaches try and train,” Otis said. “You have to be proud of them because they just work so hard.”

The level 6 State Championship competition is in Tracy, Calif. On Sunday where Zeph Thomas will compete for a chance to attend regionals in April.

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.