Gymnasts stay up all night tumbling

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 11, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

What did you give your mother for Mother’s Day this morning? A box of chocolates? A set of flowers? An autographed photo of Martha Stewart hanging out with Oprah Winfrey at a Barbra Streisand concert?

All worthy contenders. But seven-year-old Alicia Ankofski had a special method of giving her mom a great gift; she simply spent the night away.

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&uot;My mom LOVES me being in a sleepover, because sometimes I do bad things!&uot; the Mack Benn Elementary School student said with a smile. She spent Friday night and Saturday morning at the Mother’s Day sleepover at Triple T Gymnastics on Constance Road. A member of the Triple T Tumbling Team, Alicia used the night to sharpen her acrobatic skills.

&uot;It’s LOTS of fun, because my friends and I get to do everything,&uot; she said. &uot;I think I’ll stay up until the sun rises.&uot; The trampoline, parallel and uneven bars, horse, floor and balance beam were available for use at the overnight event (sleepovers are held every month at the center

– 923-5150).

John Yeates Middle School student Brittany Hammond, 13, used the balance beam as practice for the Suffolk Cheer Attitude cheerleading squad. &uot;I’m a flier on the team,&uot; she said, referring to the person who gets tossed high into the air during routines. &uot;The beam is about the same width as if I was jumping into someone’s hands, so it helps you with the balance.&uot;

She wasn’t the only cheerleader at the all-nighter; Leah Fontenot, a member of the Nansemond River High School cheering squad, hopes to help coach the Tumblers over the next two years. &uot;I’ve been doing gymnastics since I was three,&uot; said the 14-year-old, taking a break from the trampoline. &uot;There’s no other gym close by, and this helps me keep up my skills since I’m not on a team anymore.&uot;