KANSAS CITY, Mo — The future of elite gymnastics in Delaware looks bright, and it isn’t just the Sprint Center lights reflecting off Sydney Morris’ and Love Birt’s bedazzled leotards.
The two competitors from First State Gymnastics in Newark are the only junior elites in Delaware, and they could follow in the footsteps of their senior teammate, Morgan Hurd.
Hurd first put Delaware on the gymnastics map in 2017 with a gold medal in the all-around at the World Championships. As the first elite to ever come out of the state, Hurd blazed a trail that Love and Morris are tumbling down this weekend.
After Friday afternoon, the first day of the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, Morris, 15 years old, sits in seventh on the uneven bars. A fall on the balance beam took a toll on her all-around standing, landing her in 14th, but she hopes to bounce back Sunday.
Thirteen-year-old Love finished day one in 17th but hit all four of her routines, an achievement she’s especially proud of given that she just returned to practice two weeks before nationals. An elbow injury kept her out of training for a month prior, though she was still able to debut a new tumbling pass at these championships — a double-twisting front layout connected to a front tuck.
The two have trained together since Morris joined First State two years ago, and their bond was apparent out on the competition floor.
“It makes the meets less stressful when you know you have a teammate there who will be supporting you,” Morris said. “When you hear them cheering for you, you can single out their voice, and it helps with our routines.”