Young gymnast, big expectations


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The Iowa Gym-Nest, a gymnastics business in Coralville, has produced a lot of talent in recent years, including several current Hawkeyes. It’s newest protégé? — 11-year-old Adeline Kenlin.

“I’m a little bit older than her, so I didn’t train directly with her, but all I’ve heard are good things,” said Hawkeye gymnast Lance Alberhasky, who grew up training at the local gym. “Her family is just awesome —they really support Iowa gymnastics, and I just wish her the best in the future.”

After starting gymnastics classes as a 2-year-old, her talent was quickly recognized and she began receiving private instruction at age 3.

Paige Roth, who owns the facility, was understandably a little hesitant to start private lessons at such a young age.

“I got a phone call from a mom who wanted me to do lessons with her 3-year-old, and I said I am not doing lessons with a 3-year-old,” Roth said. “My secretary said I really needed to look at her and see. I went and watched her in class a little bit and even at age 3, I knew there was something special about her.”

With Roth’s blessing, Adeline began her athletics journey at the gym, with her weekly lessons now reaching as high as 26 to 32 hours a week.

She has not disappointed people and has even managed to catch the eye of the most important person in the Hawkeye gymnastics scene — Iowa head coach, JD Reive, who has worked with her brother.

“My wife was on the world championship team for the U.S. and has a bronze medal, so Adeline has come over and talked to her once in a while,” Reive said. “Every once in a while, she’ll pop in and say hello. She’s a good little kid.”

With such a high profile group of Iowa gymnasts surrounding her, it’s not a huge surprise that she has some very lofty expectations for herself. And while concentrating on her craft is always at the forefront of her training, Adeline manages to enjoy the ride as well.

“It’s really fun; you get to learn a lot of new skills and things you didn’t know about stuff,” she said. “You also make lots of new friends. My goals are to go to the Olympics, and if I don’t make it to the Olympics, then college gymnastics.”

To help her get to that level, Roth has since decided to bring on coach Mary Wise, a gymnastics specialist who was more easily able to travel with Adelline and other young gymnast prospects.

“I was hired as a young and enthusiastic person to come in and work with the higher-level kids,” Wise said. “Really to help push them and increase the level of gymnastics here.”

“She has a really good talent for the sport physically and is very flexible and strong,” Roth said. “What’s really unique about her is her ability to process her skills, process her gymnastics and is just very strong-willed.”

As talented as she is, a strong work ethic is what makes a truly great athlete.

“Every day, I want to progress and learn new skills,” Adeline said.

There’s most certainly a chance for greatness here.

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