Lehi’s Isabella Bassett, 15, has just taken another big step on the road that she hopes will lead her to a future spot on the BYU gymnastics team.
She earned the all-around title in the Senior 2 division at the Level 9 Western Championships last month in Coralville, Iowa, competing with hundreds of gymnasts from 24 states at the top meet open to her at her current skill level.
She earned a 9.600 in the vault, a 9.200 in the uneven bars, a 9.550 in balance beam and a 9.575 in her floor exercise for an overall score of 37.925, a full tenth ahead of second place in her division.
Her personal bests in the vault (9.725) and balance beam (9.650) rank her among the top 100 Level 9 gymnasts in the nation in those events. Level 9 is one step below the collegiate level of gymnastics (Level 10), which in turn is the last level before the Elite/Olympic level.
The middle of five children of Dustin and Kate Bassett, Bella maintained a 4.0 GPA at Willowcreek Middle School this past year while continuing to train at All American Gymnastics in Lindon. She nursed a back injury through much of the season.
According to her mother Kate, Bella started her career in gymnastics at age 5 when she took a recreation class at the Lehi Legacy Center.
“Bella’s dad was a gymnast and he could still do some pretty cool tricks, so she wanted to learn how to do those tricks too,” Kate explained.
“We remember years ago when Bella was just starting out in gymnastics,” her mother continued. “She was learning how to do a back handspring and could not get it right, so she decided to practice with her dad in the back yard.
“While practicing and not succeeding, she fought back tears and kept telling us that she would never learn how to do a back handspring…never… ever! However, her determination would not let her stop trying and she finally learned to do it,” Kate said.
“We remember this well, because it was the very last time we heard Bella say that she would never be able to do a trick. Instead, she loves the challenge of a new trick and takes it head on.
“She is very focused and works hard, even while overcoming injuries,” Kate added. “Bella is the most positive person you will meet and is often the first person to cheer on her teammates and encourage them.”
Bella loves everything about this very demanding sport, including the coaches and the friends she makes. She loves being able to push herself and see what new things she can learn and accomplish.
Since she’s just heading into her sophomore year at Lehi High School, she has some time yet to continue to work towards her dream of competing with the Cougars.