|Sarah Baldwin vaults to top of North Carolina gymnastics|
|Champion in state, regional AAU competitions|
|Published Monday, September 24, 2018 8:08 pm|
|COURTESY SARAH BALDWIN|
|Sarah Baldwin, 14, won championships at North Carolina and regional AAU gymnastics meets. Kourtney Colley, on the right, is her coach.|
Sarah Baldwin excels on and off the mat.
A 14-year-old gymnast with a passion for numbers and faith, Baldwin’s faith fuels her performance in the classroom as well as with Metrolina Gymnastics.
“I would love to inspire other African-American girls just to pursue their dreams, and just be the best person they can be no matter what criticism they get, because that’s what God wants,” said Baldwin, the only black gymnast on her team. “It doesn’t matter what other people think. It only matters if you are doing your best.”
Baldwin is well rounded, too. She earned the Falcons Award for outstanding achievement in athletics, academics, and spiritual development at United Faith Christian Academy in Charlotte.
“It’s something that I’ve looked up to, and I’ve seen other people get it,” Baldwin said. “I’ve always wanted to get it, and when I did, it was such an honor.”
Baldwin also earned the Meritorious Award at Calvary Church for achievements biblical studies.
“I have worked so hard for that—since I was in third grade,” she said.
Baldwin began recreational gymnastics at age 8, but did not start competitive training until last year.
“I did competitive cheer,” she said. “I explored different horizons. I did drama and acting, and I still do that today.”
Shortly after joining Metrolina, Baldwin earned a spot on the Xcel Gold Team. Her first competitive season resulted in multiple AAU medals, placing first on uneven bars at the North Carolina state meet. She earned five medals at the Southern Regional Championships in Georgia last May, winning her division’s title with a victory in bars, second in beam, third in floor and fifth in vault.
“One of her biggest obstacles was vault,” said Baldwin’s coach, Kourtney Colley. “She hadn’t really vaulted before. By the end of the year, she was scoring 9s on vault, and it looks like a totally different gymnast.
“Just by her work ethic and motivation, she has really grown not only as a gymnast, but as an all-around athlete. She’s stronger, and she was already stronger in the beginning. She makes corrections, and she really understands how to work. You can’t really teach that. She just has that. She’s self-motivated.”
Said Metrolina owner Nick Baker: “You could tell that she has what’s called raw talent. She came in with this really strong athletic ability. She just has this drive and this determination to work through everything she does. She did wonderful with the AAU program.”
A high school freshman, Baldwin has no intention of giving up gymnastics.
“I will definitely continue with gymnastics throughout high school,” Baldwin said. “It’s something that I love, and I love my coaches. They are so dedicated, and they pour the word of God into us.”
Baldwin wants to pursue engineering as it pertains to the medical field at a school like Clemson or Stanford, while pursuing acting.
“I just love dealing with numbers and to answer problems and see the outcome,” she said. “I would love to minor in theater or something like that, but major in something that has to do with math.”
Baldwin’s faith motivates her above all else.
“I know everything I’m doing, no matter the situation, I’m doing it for the glory of God,” she said. “I want to be more like him each and every day. I strive so that each activity I’m doing looks good in his eyes, and that I honor him always.”
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