The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

February 16, 2013

Spire Institute busy with activities

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — While hundreds of athletes were at Spire Institute competing in the Big East Track Championships and a national gymnastics competition many Spire Academy athletes were competing at major events across the country.

“We travel a lot,” said Rusty Douglas, facility manager at Spire Institute. He said the Spire Academy program has seen 35 athletes competing in four sports grow and flourish since their arrival last fall.

He said the students are from all over the world and travel to events all over the country. “We have basketball players from New Zealand and swimmers from El Salvador. They come from all over the world.”

Douglas said the participants include some high school students and some post graduate participants seeking college scholarship offers.

“We go to where there are big showcase events. They are looking to be seen,” he said. Douglas said the academy has gone well so far as the athletes are finding potential scholarship opportunities.

Douglas said 90 percent of the participants are out of high school. He said several swimmers already have two to three scholarship offers.

The last several weekends the competition spot light has been on Spire Institute as major gymnastic, swimming and track-and-field championships have been conducted in three separate state-of-the-art facilities.

Dozens of Big East track teams battled for conference championships Saturday and will continue today at the state-of-the art 300 meter track.

Many local residents volunteered their assistance at the track and gymnastic events.

More than 500 gymnasts are competing this weekend during the AAU with some hoping to make their way to the Olympics.

“In the Olympics this year two of the men were AAU gymnasts,” said Ron Ferris who is meet manager for the AAU Gymnastics Winter Nationals.

He said the Spire facility gives the gymnasts plenty of room for competition and the staff bends over backwards to make things go well.

The gymnasts range in age from 7 to 50. “We have a woman who is 50 years old who is coming (to compete) from California,” said Chris Wills who is in charge of publicity for the event.

“We love this meet. We love the atmosphere,” said Nicole Kaczmarek who helps coach the Aerial Express from Monroe, MI.

Area residents interested in track or gymnastics can get their fix today starting at 9 a.m. The gymnastics event has a morning and afternoon session and the Big East Track Championship is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Text Only
Local News
Ashtabula County Alive
July 4 Celebrations 2014
Summer off to Big Start
Ashtabula County Flag Day 2014
Northeast Ohio Soap Box Derby 2014
Tour de State Line and Boating Season
Ashtabula County Memorial Day 2014
Sam Magill Sr. Memorial
Armed Forces Echo Taps 2014
Lakeside Loop Color Run
Keeping Ashtabula County Clean and Healthy
Canoe Race and Ashtabula Easter Events
The Taping of the Teacher: A sticky Sitation
18th Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Geneva State Park
House Ads
AP Video
NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'