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Three local gymnasts head to USA state championships 

Kianna, Olivia, Erica

Kiana McCrea, Olivia Wright, and Erica Matthews.

Girls earn top scores and qualify to compete in the 2016 USA State Gymnastics Championships

–Three local athletes Erika Matthews, Kiana McCrea, and Olivia Wright recently completed their competition season winning top scores for Jr. Olympic Level 4 and 5 in artistic gymnastics and qualified for the 2016 USA State Gymnastics Championships.

“These girls travel all over California competing with the best of the best. Their accomplishments are a testament of the amazing competitive program, one of the best in the state, right here on the Central Coast.” says Mimi McKellar, owner of Central Coast Gymnastics Academy.

Erika Rose Matthews (13) is known for her grace and beauty as a gymnast. Though tiny, she is mighty. Her dedication to the sport has earned her many awards and the title of 2014 State Beam Champion with a score of 9.5 in her respective age group. In this 2016 competitive season, she took home many awards, placing 1st on floor, 2nd on beam, and 1st all- around in her respective age group.

“Gymnastics has given me a place in life to conquer my goals,” says Matthews. “It teaches me to be tough, work hard, focus in school and sports. It allows me to believe in myself. My dream is to compete in the Olympics someday.”

Kiana McCrea (13) also known as “Powerhouse McCrea” has also earned many awards and titles. You always have to be on the lookout for Kiana. She is always the one to beat. Her talent for this sport earned her the title of State Vault Champion and All-Around State Champion in 2015, for her respective age group.

“Gymnastics has made me a stronger person, physically and mentally,” says McCrea. “I’ve learned that you can grow from your mistakes. The hard work and perseverance of gymnastics will be the light that can take me through life.”

Olivia Wright (11) is known for her strength and dedication to the sport. She secured top scores all throughout the competitive season. With her first meet, she qualified for the 2016 State Championships, placing 1st on beam, 1st on floor, and 1st all-around for her respective age group and continued this same success the remainder of this season.

“Gymnastics teaches me to be tough and never give up,” says Wright. “It helps me to be a better student and athlete. I realize that great things come from hard work. The skills I have learned will help me with coaching, diving and competing in the Olympics.”

The Girl’s Program Director, Valentino Moutafov has 20+ years coaching experience. Moutafov has a masters in physical education in sports acrobatic gymnastics from Bulgaria. He has international coaching experience from South Africa and Australia. He has coached for top gyms in Southern California, including the USA Gymnastics Elite and Olympic Coaches Steve and Beth Rybacki. He developed into one of their top Elite Coaches, working with some of the country’s best athletes. Sunny Hulse has 16 years coaching experience. Both are supported by our in-house National Rated Level 10 Women’s Gymnastics Judge, Shannon Merritt who has 20+ years’ experience.

For more information on training for athletes call (805) 549-8408 or visit


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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at

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