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Local gymnast flies onto big stage with ‘Little Big Shots’


Nate Erkert and Carina Rose [Little Big Shots/NBC photo]

By SHANNON WORLEY

Seven years ago, Nate Erkert stepped into a gymnastics facility for the first time. He was invited by his neighbor to join her for ‘bring a friend day.’ A couple hours at the gym was enough for Erkert to see the excitement and fun that it brings. Within a few months, Erkert had started doing gymnastics and quickly fell in love with the sport. Now, Erkert is 10 years old and is the current state and regional champion of his events.

Recently, he was seen displaying his trampoline and tumbling skills outside of gymnastics competitions on the television series, “Little Big Shots.” It was his first time doing anything like this.

You have to be ready for the crowd and all the cameras. It was kind of scary at first, but then we got used to it after a couple practices,” Erkert said.

On the show, Erkert performed with Carina Rose Kelly, an aerial artist who initially applied for the show. After submitting a routine and being told by “Little Big Shots” to find a partner to join her act. Erkert was recommended and thus, began an impressive duo.

It was a great experience,” Erkert said. His time on the show allowed him to meet the host, Steve Harvey. “I loved talking to Mr. Harvey. I’ve seen him on Family Feud so it was so cool to talk to him.”

The episode of “Little Big Shots” featuring Erkert and Rose aired on Thursday, June 28 but can be viewed online at nbc.com/little-big-shots.

Erkert has been at three gyms during his gymnastics career, but now trains at Hi-NRG Gymnastix. He was on the competitive trampoline and tumble team at each gym. He competes in trampoline, double mini-trampoline and tumbling at local, state, regional and national competitions throughout the season.

For the past two years, Erkert has competed in gymnastics competitions, including the national competition. In order for one to qualify for nationals, competitors must attend three meets during the normal competition season. This allows them to compete in both state and regional competitions. They must earn qualifying scores in both competitions in order to advance to the national competition.

During his first year, Erkert competed at level five and came in first place for two events and third place for another. He competed at level eight during his second year at nationals and placed fourth for all of his events. As competitors advance to higher levels, the qualifying score increases, making it more competitive. Nonetheless, Erkert has high expectations for his performance at nationals.

For the past two and half months, Erkert has been preparing for the 2018 USA Gymnastics Championships. This year, he will be competing at level 10 for trampoline and double mini-trampoline and level nine for tumbling. Erkert decided that he wanted to put a spin on things and create his own routine for the competition.

I asked my coach if I could make my own routine. I wrote the routine down on a piece of paper and gave it to my coach and we worked together to make the routine possible,” Erkert said.

Erkert is trying out that routine this week, July 3-7, at the championships in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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