Six Midcoast gymnasts — three from the North Atlantic Gymnastics Academy in Rockport and a trio from XGTC X-treme Gymastics and Tumbling Center in Unity — will take their impressive talents to the Midwest in January to represent Maine in an invitational-only event.

Camden Contakos, Elise Condon and Julia Peasley from NAGA and Kerrigan Smith, Lillian Hunt and Celia Hunt from XGTC have been selected to represent Maine in the 29th annual National Judges Cup Friday through Sunday Jan. 4-6 in the Overland Park Convention Center.

The six area girls are Level 7s.

The event is an annual fundraiser hosted by the National Association of Women's Gymnastics Judges and is the only traveling invitational in the country that changes states and venues each year and uses a four-judge panel for all levels.

Jonas Contakos of NAGA housed at the Penobscot Bay YMCA said the National Judges Cup is a large, three-day invitational, but on Saturday night it has what is called the Level 7 State Team Challenge. All states are allowed to send a team of six Level 7 gymnasts to represent their state.

The top five scores from a team of six count on each event.

Jonas said there was a state meeting over the summer to determine who from Maine would get the invitation to Kansas.

"This is a great opportunity for a true team competition for these girls," Stacey said. "They will also be working as a team with athletes from another gym which is fantastic … gymnastics is so small in Maine in comparison to other parts of the country so any chance to build relationships with other athletes and gyms in our state is great."

Jonas said the other nice thing about the meet is the focus is specifically Level 7s.

Girls competing in Levels 8-10 have the ability to qualify to represent Maine at the regional and national level, but Level 7s are not given the same opportunity so this a "great chance for these girls to go out and represent their state," Jonas said.

There will be teams from Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, California, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texax and Washington at the meet.

It is believed the Maine six are the only gymnasts from New England to compete in the National Judges Cup.

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