Carnes Wins Gymnastics Meet

Carnes Takes First at New Jersey Gymnastics Meet
Posted on 01/20/2023
Gymnastics has almost always been a big part of Braelynn Carnes’ life. Since taking up the sport many years ago, Carnes, an eighth-grader at Mason Creek Middle School, has found great success on the gymnastics mat. 

Last weekend, Carnes expanded on her success, taking first place in the all around competition at the Star Struck Invitational in Atlantic City, New Jersey, against over 3,500 gymnasts. 

“This was the biggest competition that the Douglasville Dream Team has ever been to and it was my first time getting to travel up north,” said Braelynn. “We’ve usually gone west to California and Las Vegas, so I went in just knowing that I wanted to do my best.”

Entering the competition, Braelynn was placed with a random grouping of other Level 9 gymnasts for the first day, but she soon showed that she was one of the best in her age group. Carnes finished in the top two of the bars, beam, vault, floor and all around competitions to be one of six gymnasts to advance to the meet’s second day in all categories. 

On the second day, Braelynn turned in another stellar performance, winning awards for the highest overall meet score and second place on the beam.

“Winning at events like this gives me a lot of confidence,” said Braelynn. “But I also know that there are a lot of really good gymnasts out there, so it just pushes me to keep working harder.”

Braelynn’s gymnastics career began thanks to her mother, Hope Carnes, who first took her to a mommy and me gymnastics class nearly 11 years ago. 

And while Hope initially thought that her daughter would follow in her footsteps as a cheerleader, she knew that Braelynn had a future in gymnastics when her daughter began doing back handsprings just a few years after beginning gymnastics. 

“At three-years-old, she told me that she wanted to be in the Olympics,” said Hope, “and when she was about five, I walked into my bedroom and she was doing back handsprings, so that’s when I first realized that we need to take this kind of seriously. We put her on a gymnastics team then, and it’s been exciting to see her love that.”

Since beginning gymnastics with the Douglasville Dream Team and starting to compete, Braelynn’s abilities and confidence as a gymnast have continued to grow thanks to her dedication and commitment to the sport. 

Hope says Braelynn spends several hours each week in the gym after school, adding that it brings her joy to see her daughter excelling at what she loves to do. 

“It brings tears to our eyes, because she loves it so much and she works so hard and pushes herself to be the best,” said Hope. “God gifted her with an amazing talent, and she’s definitely using it to the best of her ability.” Carnes on Winners Podium

Already Braelynn has her eyes set on competing in gymnastics in college, as she says her dream is to be a member of the University of Alabama’s gymnastics team. But for now, her sights are set on a slightly different goal, as she hopes to build on last weekend’s success in New Jersey and to eventually compete in the Eastern Nationals in May, which would put her against all of the best gymnasts in the Eastern United States. 

But for now, Braelynn’s focus is on taking things one day at a time and preparing for the state competition in March, which is the first step to reaching the Eastern Nationals. 

“It’s so rewarding to get to do what I love every single day and not have to worry about school or other stuff. I get to do what I want to do and flip and clear my mind. It really helps me stay relaxed and calm, and it makes me feel like I’m here to do something and this is what I was born to do.”
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