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Young boy on gymnastics rings while older man holds out arm to help
Ethan Ramspott, a sixth-grader at Flora Vista Elementary, won first place overall in his division at a recent gymnastics conference championship. He's now training for the state meet next month. Courtesy photo
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Local sixth-grader places first in gymnastics championship, now preparing for state meet

ENCINITAS — A sixth-grade Encinitas gymnast placed first in his age group in a conference meet this month and is now looking forward to competing in the state championships next month.

Ethan Ramspott took first place overall in boys Level 5, Division 1 for ages 12 and older, at the California Men’s Gymnastics South Conference Championships on Feb. 15. He earned the top spot by receiving high marks of 9.4 on rings, 9.5 on vault and parallel bars, and 9.9 on the horizontal bar.

“I honestly didn’t think I was going to win,” Ethan said after the meet. “I knew I did well, but I can’t believe I won. I started on rings with a 9.4 and my teammate Jared got 9.5, then I got 9.5 on vault and he got 9.4 and it was like we were trading scores. It was a lot of fun.”

Ethan, who attends Flora Vista Elementary School, started in gymnastics when he was 4 years old, but this is only his second year competing. His parents, Evan and Julie Ramspott, said last year he was a Conference All-Star and placed in many events at competitions, but this was the first time he has taken first place overall, or scored first place in so many events. They say he’s a dedicated athlete and has so far competed in over 10 competitions.

“Both Evan and I wanted to encourage him to participate in a sport that builds confidence and promotes physical fitness,” Julie Ramspott said. “He was also in Jiu-Jitsu for 6 years but gave it up to concentrate on gymnastics.”

Ethan added, “When you compete, you’re not fighting, like in Jiu-Jitsu. You’re just having fun.”

Ethan trains at the Pacific Coast Gymnastics center (PCG) in San Marcos for 12 hours a week — four days a week for three hours a session.

“He even brings a lunch, they have a break to eat in the middle,” Julie Ramspott said. “Eventually he will be up to five days a week.”

Julie Ramspott said PCG is a great competitive training gym and there’s a lot of hands-on, quality individual attention on both the boys’ and girls’ programs. Ethan said there are three coaches for every 10 gymnasts.

Head coach Lalo Haro, who’s been coaching Ethan for over two years, said Ethan works hard and gets along well with his teammates.

“He puts effort during practices and does care for his development in the sport,” Haro said.

Haro, who has coached gymnastics since 2001 and has had kids compete locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, said he was very happy for Ethan that he won conference champs and now the goal is to sharpen his routines for the state championships.

“It’s a tough meet,” Haro said. “We are developing routines with form and presence in mind, since gymnastics is so technical.”

Haro said it’s hard to predict how Ethan will do but they’re hoping for the best.

“Anyone can have a great meet or not so good,” Haro said. “Ethan definitely will try his best and we will be proud of him no matter what.”

Ethan, who said his favorite event is the horizontal bar, said he’s looking forward to it.

“It’s a big meet, and I think it will be really fun,” Ethan said.

The state meet takes place March 13 to March 15 in Thousand Oaks.