Gymnastics

LSJ athlete of week: Grand Ledge's Afton LaFrance

Afton LaFrance

Afton LaFrance

A few different circumstances led to Afton LaFrance spending a few years away from gymnastics during her youth.

DeWitt native and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber inspired her and gave her the itch to return to the sport a few years ago.

“I kind of just got back into it because of that,” LaFrance said. “I was like ‘Wow, that’s really cool,’ and I want to do that again because I used to do that as a kid.”

LaFrance has spent the last few years making her mark in the sport for the Grand Ledge gymnastics team. The senior placed fourth at the Division 2 state meet in the floor last season and entered this winter as a key returning performer for the Comets. LaFrance is one of the three gymnasts back that were state placers a year ago for Grand Ledge, which is hoping to overcome the loss of some key gymnasts from last year to capture a 10th straight league title under veteran coach Duane Haring.

“We lost a couple of really good girls last year,” LaFrance said. “We just have to come together and do as best as we can without them because they were a huge part (of our team).”

LaFrance, who was voted the LSJ athlete of the week, is trying to do her part to help Grand Ledge again find success. And the senior has found some early season success for the Comets, which included a good showing at the Haslett-Williamston-Bath Invitational last weekend that helped Grand Ledge finish third as a team. LaFrance finished first on the bars and third in the beam and all-around to lead the Comets at the invite.

“That was a pretty good meet,” LaFrance said. “That was kind of one of my rougher ones this year because I fell on a couple of events, but I still did pretty well for myself in that meet.

“I was really pleased with how I did because after I fell, I just got back up and did the rest of my routine the best that I could have and still got a really good score, so I was pleased.”

Contact Brian Calloway at bcalloway@lsj.com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.