Plainfield – Natalie Schulte put her 7-year-old daughter Skyla into gymnastics after noticing she was doing flips and cartwheels in the house.
Six years later, 13-year-old Skyla Schulte is a national champion gymnast.
The John F. Kennedy Middle School eighth-grader won the all-around Women’s Junior Olympic Level 9 Eastern Championships in Virginia on April 29. She competed against 36 other gymnasts.
Schulte competed in the uneven bars, balance beam, vault and floor exercise. Natalie Schulte said the scores from those four events are combined to get her all-around score.
This was her first year competing for the national title. She also took the national title on the uneven bars.
Skyla practices 20 hours a week while maintaining good grades at John F. Kennedy. If her grades slip, she won’t be able to participate in gymnastics, her mom said. Skyla does her homework during study hall, after practice and sometime in the car to and from practice.
Natalie said Skyla is very disciplined when it comes to balancing school and gymnastics.
Skyla is looking forward to competing at the college level at her dream school, Michigan State, she said.