As Kiwi Dylan Schmidt brings home New Zealand’s first-ever Olympic trampolining medal, ACG Strathallan celebrates its own superstar trampolinist, Nikita Nicholl-Jones.
Last month Nikita won gold at the NZ Gymnastics Championships, flying through her 11 to 12-year-old age group and adding yet another top medal to her already impressive collection.
“This was the hardest competition I’ve entered for a while. I’ve won gold in Nationals before, but I wasn’t competing against as many people,” says Nikita, who also recently won the Auckland College Championships and last year took top honours in the trampolining super series.
This latest competition saw the Year 7 student compete against 22 other gymnasts in two trampoline routines – a set routine and a voluntary one. Both aimed to showcase ten key skills to the judges, including difficulty, execution, and time of flight.
“This was my first year that time of flight was taken into account for scoring, and I’m proud of my results in this category. I was actually shocked and surprised I did so well overall, though, because the girls I was up against had skills that were higher in difficulty points.”
Nikita took up trampolining at the age of eight, having quit gymnastics due to injury. She trains up to six hours each week with Counties Manukau Gymnastics Club under the expert guidance of coaches Alison Payne and former ACG Strathallan student Emily Knight. And she loves it.
“I enjoy the people – I’ve made so many good friends, and we laugh so much at training. I like how relaxed our trainings are, yet we still get lots of work done, and I’m constantly working on new skills.”
Her current trampolining goal? “To do a double back. I’m working on it in the foam pit at the moment!”
As well as honing her trampolining techniques, the sport has allowed Nikita to travel all over the country.
“Travelling to compete is fun because my nana, aunty, cousin and brother often come with mum and me, and we do cool things like feeding the stingrays in Gisborne and the Tree Walk in Rotorua.”
The sports-loving tween has been part of the ACG Strathallan family since she was four years old and enthusiastically immerses herself in all that’s on offer at the school.
“I love the variety of teachers and subjects at ACG Strathallan, and I try to join in on any activities there are. At the moment, I’m doing rippa rugby, and I can’t wait for AIMS Games.”