When hard work meets talent on the mat

Published: Apr. 27, 2018 at 10:25 AM CDT
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Twenty hours a week is the average amount of time that Haley Ellis and Ava Cessna spend working out at Just Jymnastics in Rapid City.

That time and hard work is paying off as the two prepare for a meet with national implications.

Ellis, a freshman at Stevens High School, recently qualified for the Junior Olympic Level 9 Western Nationals after placing second overall in Regionals.

Cessna is 12 years old, and began gymnastics at the age of 5. She placed eighth at Regionals, making her the first alternate for the Junior Olympic National team.

On Wednesday, they will head to Salt Lake City for the weekend competition. Their coach, Amy Ellis, credits the girls' dedication to the sport for their recent accomplishments.

"We consider the gym our second home. We're here at least twenty hours per week, year-round training. Just many hours of flexibility, strength, working all four events, it's just non-stop. They are dedicated and just really hard working girls," Ellis says.