York County's Trinity Thomas has taken another step toward fulfilling her goal of becoming a future Olympian.
Thomas, 16, finished fourth in the all-around competition over the weekend at the P&G Gymnastics Championships in Anaheim, California.
It was Thomas' first appearance at the USA Gymnastics senior national championships.
The West Manchester Township girl finished with an all-around total of 111.350. Ragan Smith won the all-around crown at 115.250, followed by Jordan Chiles at 111.850 and Riley McCusker at 111.650.
Individually, Thomas was third on the balance beam at 28.400, third in floor exercise at 28.300 and sixth in uneven bars at 28.050. Thomas said the floor exercise is her favorite and also her best event.
"I was really happy with my performance," Thomas said from the beach in Santa Monica on Tuesday evening, Aug. 22. "It was a lot of fun. It was my first time doing the all-around since (a competition in) Italy (more than a year ago). I was a little unsure since I was going in without many repetitions. I was a little nervous about that, but I ended up being really good with my training."
Fresh faces: Smith, meanwhile, became the first new women’s all-around national champion since 2012. Simone Biles was the four-time defending national champion, but she had been on hiatus this year after helping Team USA to a team gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rio last summer. In addition, Biles won all-around, vault and floor exercise gold medals in Rio and earned a bronze in balance beam.
This past weekend, Biles and her “Final Five” teammates — Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Gabby Douglas — all were inducted into the sport’s hall of fame. With none of the five competing in the national championships, it was time for some fresh faces to step forward, including Thomas.
"It was great being out there with all the seniors for the first time," Thomas said.
Apparently, her senior teammates were impressed with Thomas' attitude. They voted her the Sports Person of the Year for women's artistic gymnastics.
Getting started: Thomas has been competing in gymnastics since 2008, when she was just 7 years old. Since, then she's enjoyed success locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
"My mother was tired of me flipping all over the house and furniture. So, at age 7 she took me to a gym for a tryout for their competitive cheer program. The gymnastics coach saw me and invited me to the gymnastics team," Thomas said on her USA Gymnastics biography.
Thomas competes for Prestige Gymnastics in Lancaster and is a junior at Commonwealth Charter Academy. Previously, she was enrolled in the West York School District. She spends about five days each month training with the national team in Texas.
Setting goals: Thomas hopes to make the U.S. team for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
"It's still a goal," Thomas said. "I think I have to take it one step at a time because injuries are always a possibility. My chances are good if I stay healthy. ... so far I've been pretty healthy."
Thomas next hopes to compete in the world championships in October in Canada.
Thomas is the daughter of Tisen and Titania Thomas. Tisen Thomas is a former York High football standout who also played at Penn State.
Her mother, not surprisingly, was "proud" of how her daughter performed in California and believes she can make it to Tokyo in 2020 if things break her way.
"She could go all the way," Titania Thomas said. "It's a mental game and a physical game. If she can stay healthy and in the right frame of mind, it's possible. She's come a long way in a short period of time."
Reach Steve Heiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.