Clay three-sport athlete Kylee Ault has always loved the performing aspect of
She lists the floor exercise as her favorite event and the uneven bars as her least favorite.
“On the floor, I'm a powerful tumbler,” Ault said. “There's kind of an acting to it. If you had a bad skill, you have to keep a straight face and keep on going. It's physical and mental, and balance is everything. You have to be graceful and powerful at the same time, and you don't get that with very many other sports.”
The difficulties associated with performing on the uneven bars caught up with Ault this season, when she took a bad spill and injured her back.
“I fell from the low bar,” said Ault, a sophomore. “I was swinging around it and my hand slipped off. I hit the bar and fell to the mat. I knew I wasn't drastically injured; I wasn't embarrassed. I'm a gymnast, and everyone falls. It healed fast, really. I went to a chiropractor to make sure everything was still in alignment.”
On March 5-6, Ault competed in the state gymnastics meet at Hilliard Bradley High School, just outside Columbus. She qualified by taking fifth place in the all-around at the Feb. 27 district meet at Van Buren.
Ault, who is 5-4, was also the City League champion in the all-round as well as the floor and vault events. The Eagles' other gymnast, senior Sarah Breier, was also a first-team all-league performer this season.
Ault, under the direction of first-year Clay coach Nick Distel and her long-time coach, Dustin Costanzo, placed 25th at the state meet.
“Kylee's biggest strength is her emotions are always even. She's always positive,” Distel said. “Nothing really rattles her at a meet, even if things aren't going her way. She keeps perspective. And, she's consistent. She's very good on vault and floor.
“The kid is just consistent and just a joy to be around. She can take a verbal correction and make that correction on the fly, whether we're at a meet or in practice. She's real good about that.”
Ault, who also plays tennis and runs track at Clay, said she was happy with her performance at her first high school state meet.
“I hit all my routines,” she said. “I really couldn't have asked for a much better meet. I was just going for experience. It was definitely a blast.”
Ault competed with USA Gymnastics from Level 1 through Level 7. A gymnast's level represents his or her ability grade. College gymnasts, for example, are usually Level 10.
Ault said there were a couple reasons why she wanted to compete for Clay this winter.
“I had been thinking about how I'm getting older, and for this sport, I'm old,” she said. “Most people don't stick in it that long. I've been preparing myself the last couple years – this could be my last year doing gymnastics. I wanted to have a teammate from Clay and see what would happen while I was representing my school.”
Ault credits her coaches, Costanzo and Distel, for keeping her interest in gymnastics and helping her progress up the ability ladder.
“I have that emotional connection with all my coaches, but Dustin has been with me since the young levels,” Ault said. “Nick came in at Level 5. Dustin is easy to talk to for me and knows everything I've done in gymnastics. No matter what sport, I've been fortunate to have great coaches who have kept up with what I'm doing. They've been great.”
Ault competed in a Level 8 USA Gymnastics meet on March 21 in Youngstown, where she made the qualifying score to advance to the regional meet April 17 at Western Michigan University. Ault, who placed first on the vault and third in the all-around, will compete for Team Ohio against teams from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.
“That was a little bit different than high school,” Ault said of the Youngstown meet. “I had never been there before and I thought it would be a fun experience. I knew there would be more pressure to it, to perform well. But if I didn't get there (regionals), it wasn't the end of the world.”
Ault, who has a 4.186 GPA, will compete in the short sprints, relays and high jump this spring for the Eagles' track team. Last fall, playing No. 1 singles, she took third at the CL tennis tournament.
Asked which sport is her favorite, Ault said, “that's a tough one.”
“Through all the years, I have a lot more memories of gymnastics,” she said. “I'll just say that whatever sport is in season, that's my favorite.”
Ault, 15, seemed like a natural for gymnastics, so when she was 8-years-old her mother, Darci, enrolled Kylee in gymnastics classes at Kids' World in Millbury.
“She really had an interest in gymnastics,” Darci recalled, “and she was always walking on her hands and cart wheeling.”