11 Aug 2014

AAU Event Bulletin & News - Volume # 2 - Issue 32

AAU Event Bulletin & News - Volume # 2 - Issue 32

AAU Newsletter


Originally Posted on Courier-Journal.com by Adam Himmelsbach

Ganiyu Yahaya's family lives in a Nigerian village that makes it difficult to chase basketball dreams. The nearest court is more than an hour's drive away.

Transportation is expensive and money is tight, so for Yahaya a trip to the court is a kind of pilgrimage. When school is not in session, the 17-year-old and others play basketball all day and sleep on the court's edges at night, sometimes for several days in a row. It is not ideal, but it is the only option, and potentially the only way to a better life.

Set against that backdrop, the determination Yahaya and five other Nigerian teenagers showed during their long, sometimes harrowing journey to the AAU Super Showcase in Louisville this week is not surprising.

One plane caught fire and others were missed. There were anxious rides through dangerous areas of northern Nigeria and there was a late-night and last-gasp attempt to find a bus from Washington, D.C., to Kentucky. The players essentially missed the tournament, playing only in some scrimmages that had been cobbled together for their benefit, but their spirits were not dampened.

Ganiyu Yahaya, 17, describes his team's wild trip from Nigeria to Louisville for AAU nationals.



Give me an A! Give me an A! Give me a U! That's right, the Cheerleading competition swept through the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines for one day of competition on July 31st. Although the event only lasted for just over two hours, the competition was as intense as could be! The day kicked off with team competition, with Cheer FX scoring the top spot in Mini Level 1, Junior Level 2 and Senior Level 3. DAS-zle also took home a gold medal in the Junior Level 1 division. Briley Steffenson, Jamie Barrett and Payton Steffenson all took home first place honors in the solo Mini Level 2, Mini Level 3 and Youth Level 5, respectively.

After team and solo events, Cheerleading progressed to the Mini-Jump competition where Madison Winterrowd took home the gold! Payton Steffenson grabbed the gold in Youth Jumps with a score of 55. In Mini Level 2 Tumbling, Briley Steffenson came in first place with 17 and Madison Winterrowd came in a close second with 16.75. Jamie Barrett added another gold medal to her collection in the Mini Level 3 Tumbling event and Genna Crafts earned the gold in Mini Level 5 Tumbling.



The Gymnastics competition at the 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games is over and gone! We had several athletes make the trip to Des Moines to compete against some tough competition and several walked away with new hardware to show for their talents.

Gymnastics kicked off on Monday, July 28th and lasted three days. Age divisions included Levels 1-8, Level Excel Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. There was also a Ladies Division with Level Excel Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond and Level 6, 7, 8 and Level Open Optional.

AAU Gymnastics at the AAU Junior Olympic Games included giving away some special awards. Each skill level and age division had individual and all-around awards through 10th place. There will also All-American Awards that were earned by the top 6 female scores from any age division in the Open Optional Gymnastics preliminaries. Jordan Lyden, Lyden Saltness, Abigail Mueller, Hallie Fowler, Nicole Carroll and Rachel Stuplich all took home those honors.



The Baton competition at the 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games is finished! Twirlers from around the nation flooded to Des Moines, Iowa to show off their skills and try to take home the gold. The four day competition included boys and girls, ages 5-16+. Events within the competition consisted of Dance Twirl, Twirling Duet, Twirling Trio, Twirl Teams, Street Parade, Novelty Show Duet and Trio, Show Twirl, Auxillary Pom/Dance, Freestyle, Strut, One Baton, Two Baton and Auxillary Baton Line.

Baton Twirling was also featured in the Celebration of Athletes. Several participants performed together Monday night to get the crowd riled up before the Parade of States in the Celebration of Athletes.



The 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games' Bowling competition is complete! Bowlers from around the nation traveled to Des Moines to compete against the best and the competition was definitely intense! The first day of bowling featured singles competition from boys and girls in age division ranging from 10 and under to the 15-19 division. Out of 34 contestants only 23 advanced to the semi-final round. After semi-finals, the field was cut down to 19. After the first day, Christopher Cole, Devin Chalifour, Mabel Cummins, Tony Zaddach and Abigail Moeller had all earned gold medals in their respective divisions.

The second day of bowling brought doubles competition. Qualifying teams made it through the semifinals, creating a total of 14 pairs to compete in the finals. At the end of finals, only one pair in each age group was able to take home a gold medal and bragging rights. Those pairs were: Christopher Cole and Christopher Strzalkowski, Jonathon Cole and Justin Nelson, Mikkayle Black and Abbey Whitson, Blake Miller and Mabel Cummins, Cooper Neavill and Cameron Ralston, Claire Turner and Abigail Moeller and Angela Rodriguez and Tony Zaddach.



Another sport has come and gone from the 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games! Weightlifting was a one day event that took place on July 26th in the Iowa Events Center. Several competitors took home shiny, new medals, along with bragging rights!

Several weightlifting athletes also competed in Powerlifting the day before but if that affected their lifting skills at all, you couldn't tell. Gage Gregurich, a ten year old who had competed in Powerlifting the day before, added to his collection of Powerlifting gold medals. He took home the gold in four Weightlifting events: Bench Press-Assisted, Deadlift-Assisted, Full Meet-Assisted, and Push/Pull Assisted.



The Feats of Strength and Combine competition are officially over in the 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games! Both were only one day each but it was a fun-filled and intense two days! AAU members showed just how strong they were by performing lifts and exercises that included, but weren't limited to deadlifts, tire flipping and a bobsled push! The Combine was also co-sanctioned by the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation and had two surprise guests show up the competition, Olympians Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauryn Williams! The two of them spoke at the Celebration of Athletes on Monday night and demonstrated a bob sled push to athletes. They also hung around the competition on Monday at the Feats of Strength event to cheer on the young AAU athletes.

On Sunday, the Combine included both boys and girls ranging from the 5U and 16-17 age divisions. The event included pullups, BP, PC, Long Jump and a 40 yard sprint. At the end of the day, West Fowler, James Distaso-Hutchins, Max Crofton, DelMario Hairston, Evan Pittman and Dirion Hutchins all took home gold medals. In the girls' competition, the gold medals went to Caelyr Grining, Emily Grining, Karlie Wooten, Ashley Perryman, Katelyn Perryman and Monet Salazar! Max Crofton, DelMario, Evan Pittman and Ashley Perryman are all used to the medals and the honor of being on top of that podium; they were repeat Combine champions TWO years in a row! In addition to placing first in their age groups, Evan Pittman, Dirion Hutchins, Katelyn Perryman and Monet Salazar all earned certificates for a FREE bobsled/skeleton G-Force driving school at Utal Olympic Park in Park City, Utah! Congratulations to everyone who competed in the event and we hope to see you again next year! Will the two-time champions be able to have a three-peat!



Another sport from the 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games is in the books! More than 20 athletes made the trip to Des Moines, Iowa to show off their skills in the sport of Taekwondo. There were definitely some talented athletes at the event this year and several of them were able to take home medals!

Taekwondo featured two new divisions this year: Creative Forms and Board Breaking. Several athletes were excited about the event and it was fun for everyone to watch.

The male Grand Champion of the Taekwondo event at the 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games was Forrest Cunningham, 11, from Fort Wayne, Indiana. This is his second year competing in the event and he said it's "nice to say you went." Cunningham commented that he thought the new divisions were "pretty cool" and "creative" and his favorite event was board breaking.

The female Grand Champion from the event was Kennedy Pahl, an eight year old Des Moines local. This is her first time competing at the AAU Junior Olympic Games and she said it was "really fun." As for the new divisions, she said she liked having more of the board breaking and forms. Her favorite event was also board breaking.



After four days of intense competition, Jump Rope at the 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games has come to a close! More than 200 athletes flooded the court at the Iowa Events Center to show off their jumping skills. Teams traveled from around the world to Des Moines to be a part of this huge event and everyone seemed to have a truly enjoyable time.

The Jazzy Jumpers, a team from Australia, made the nearly 30 hour trek to the United States to compete and they will return home with some shiny, new medals and bragging rights. You can check out the rest of their story HERE.

This is the 20th year that Jump Rope has been a part of the AAU Junior Olympic Games! We sat down with Jean Hodges, one of the influential people who helped jump rope get its start in the event. See what she has to say in the full story HERE!

To revolutionize the sport even more, the Jump Rope competition made several aspects of the competition digital. There were flat screen TVs to show the audience the live scores and iPods were used to keep track of the jumps in the speed competition.



More than 25 records were broken in one day at the Powerlifting competition in the 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games. The members competing were in it to win in and many took home medals.

One member in particular had a very impressive meet. Gage Gregurich, 10, took home four gold medals and his team from Nebraska also claimed the first place team award. He grabbed the gold in the Bench Press-Assisted, Deadlift-Assisted, Push/Pull-Assisted and Full Meet-Assisted in the Male division, breaking the record in all four.

Gregurich said he started powerlifting because his father entered a powerlifting with him, and he's been hooked ever since. At a mere 66 pounds, he said the most he's lifted was 170 pounds in the deadlift competition earlier today.

This young member sure has a ton of talent! We can't wait to see what the future has in store for him!


(listed in date order)

Dog Days Invitational
AAU Baseball
August 23-24, 2014
Freedom Florence, SC
Entry Deadline: August 19, 2014
Complete Info Flyer

Boys' Basketball -
(listed in date order)

Servin Heat Invitational
AAU Boys' Basketball
August 9-10, 2014
Anaheim, CA
Entry Deadline: Not provided
Complete Info Flyer

A Poor Boys Dream & Jam Town
AAU Boys' Basketball
August 10-11, 2014
Oakland, CA
Entry Deadline: Not provided
Complete Info Flyer

A Poor Boys Dream & JamTown
AAU Boys' Basketball
August 23 - 24, 2014
Oakland, CA
Entry Deadline: Not provided
Complete Info Flyer


Contact the AAU Hotline

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Boys' & Girls' Basketball
(listed in date order)

Inaugural Play It Tournament
AAU Boys' & Girls' Basketball
August 16 - 17, 2014
Oxnard, CA
Entry Deadline: August 10, 2014
Complete Info Flyer

Summer Finale
AAU Boys' & Girls' Basketball
August 16 - 17, 2014
San Francisco, CA
Entry Deadline: August 8, 2014
Complete Info Flyer

End Of Summer Swag
AAU Boys' & Girls' Basketball
August 23 - 24, 2014
San Francisco, CA
Entry Deadline: August 8, 2014
Complete Info Flyer

Kung-Fu -
(listed in date order)

US Capitol Classics
AAU Kung-Fu
August 1-2, 2014
Entry Deadline: July 31, 2014
Complete Info Flyer

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Powerlifting -
(listed in date order)

Las Vegas Powerlifting Championships
AAU Powerlifting
August 30, 2014
Las Vegas, NV
Entry Deadline: July 30, 2014
Complete Info Flyer
AAU Football Pre-Season
National Kick-Off
August 15 – 17, 2014
Little Rock, AR
Complete Info

2014 AAU Junior Olympic Final Recap
The information contained herein is for informational purposes only.

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