ArtSports gymnasts back at Worlds

       Sam Chiacchia, 14, and Kristen Bowman, 16, of the Westside's ArtSports gym have qualified for the second straight year for the American team at the World Age Group championships.

ArtSports coach Tex Womack congratulates Sam Chiacchia after a recent competition.
Courtesy of Mike Zapp

       They are scheduled to go to the competition in Metz, France, Nov. 12-20 with their ArtSports coach, Richard “Tex” Womack.
       As in 2009, Chiacchia will compete in two events in the 13-14 age group - trampoline and double-mini trampoline - while Bowman (age 15-16) will be back on double-mini.
       Chiacchia earned fifth (and was the top-placing American) in the age 13-14 double-mini at last year's World event in Russia. He did not place in trampoline at that competition, nor did Bowman in her event.
       Chiacchia goes to Eagleview Middle School and Bowman to Peyton High School.
       According to Womack, the two gymnasts qualified by points earned at the last two WAG (World Age Group) qualifying meets - Virginia in June and Connecticut in August.
       Chiacchia has also been selected to the Junior National Team in both his events. “This is a very big deal.” Womack said. “ All of the coaches congratulated me on this.” It means the athlete and his coach can go to four national team training camps in Houston, Texas at the Karoly Ranch next year, and this could lead to Chiacchia being selected to compete “for the US at events around the world,” Womack said.
       Another Worlds gymnast with local ties is Justin Hackett, a former ArtSports gymnast (under Womack) and graduate of Palmer High School who now attends college in Michigan. He will compete at the Senior World competition in Metz, as the top qualifier for the US in double-mini, the week before the World Age Group competition, Womack said.
       Womack himself has been named one of the assistant double-mini coaches for the WAG.
       Owned by Mike and Christin Zapp, ArtSports is at 780 Vondelpark Drive in Holland Park.

From a press release