Gymnastics team producing champions

By Doug Gorman

Paul Littlejohn has witnessed plenty of changes in the four years he has served as head coach of the Paris Men's Gymnastic team, a squad based out of Stockbridge.

The most noticeable difference has been the growth and development of the team.

When Littlejohn was hired as head coach there were only four members on the team.

Since Littlejohn's first year on the job, team membership has exploded to more than 100. Now, gymnasts come from all over the metro area to train at the facility located in a warehouse off of Eagle's Landing Parkway and Hudson Bridge Road.

"We have gotten calls from as far away as Alabama from people who wanted to train with us," said Littlejohn.

Littlejohn has tried to instill a tough work ethic in his gymnast and it's beginning to pay off in the form of success in competitions.

Most recently, the Paris Gymnastics team returned from Augusta and the USA Georgia state gymnastics competition with a second place in the Class 7 division and a third place in the Class 6 event.

With more than 200 athletes, including 19 from the Paris team, the local squad distinguished itself with three all-around state winners and four regional qualifiers.

For his hard work, Littlejohn was nominated as 2003 Georgia Men's Coach of the Year.

"I was very surprised and honored to be nominated," he said. "It was really a thrill."

In the Class 7 Division, 7-year-old Austin Lewis earned a perfect 10 en route to capturing the parallel bars. He also placed first on the floor exercises (9.55), third on the rings (9.35) and second on the high bar (9.25). He also placed first in the all around with a score of 55.55.

Colby Pedrick won the pommel horse (9.3), placed third on the floor (9.3), third on the parallel bars (9.65), third on the high bar (9.2) and third in the 7-year-old all-around (55.00). Also in the 7-year-old age group, Kyle Brown placed second on the pommel horse (9.25) and fourth on the all-around with a (54.8).

In the 8-year-old division, Eddie Brecht place second on the floor (9.45) and second on the parallel bars (9.75). Austin Martin won the floor with a score of (9.6).

In the 10-11-year old group Jacob McCarter won four events as well as the all-around (56.8). He wins came in the floor exercises (9.65), pommel horse (9.35), vault (9.35) and high bar (9.5).

Ten-year-old Blake Gibson placed third on the floor (9.3), second on the pommel horse (9.15), third on the rings (9.1), third on the parallel bars (9.7). He also took third in the all-around (55.25).

Nine-year old Cameron Williams, Jordan Daley and John Kreamer also competed for the Paris squad.

In the Class 6, 7-9-year-old group, Devon Slaughter placed fourth on the vault (9.3) and seventh in the all-around (55.520). Colin Platt also competed in this age group.

In the 10-11-year-old age group, Tristan Daley won the all-around (53.13). Daley also won the rings (9.15) and the parallel bars (8.95).

Jay Williams won the pommel horse with an (8.6), placed third on the parallel bars with an 8.6 and fourth in the all-around (52.2). C.J. Davis placed second on the vault (9.3). Jacob Lovins also competed in the age group.

In the 12-year-old group, Jared Mullgrav won the floor (8.75) and was second on the vault (9.3) and third on the parallel bars (8.95). He was fourth in the all-around (49.65). Jordan Dover also competed in this age group.

Fourteen-year old Todd Jenkins competed in the Class Four group.