Kelly Keitel

Kelly Keitel hugs one of her coaches, Chelsea Rainer, following a routine during the World Age Group competition in Sophia, Bulgaria.

Kelly Keitel (web)

Kelly Keitel hugs one of her coaches, Chelsea Rainer, following a routine during the World Age Group competition in Sophia, Bulgaria.

By Steve Raymond

News Report Staff

Things didn’t go exactly like Kelly Keitel had hoped, but it didn’t dampen her spirit at all.

Keitel finished 17th on the double mini in the 17-21 age group at the World Age Group competition, which was held November 16-19 at the Arena Armeek in Sophia, Bulgaria.

There were 24 girls from all over the world competing in her age group. Kelly was one of two competing from the United States.

“I did okay, but not as good as I hoped or expected to do,” the 20-year-old from Effingham admitted.

During her training sessions right before the competition, she kept coming up short on her landings.

“It was killing my ankles. So I made some adjustments,” Kelly explained. “The changes helped with my landings.”

Each competitor had two routines during the competition and got to perform each of them just one time and was scored on both.

During Kelly’s two routines at the competition, she had one foot come down outside the landing zone, which resulted in deductions.

“I was deducted 2.4 points,” Kelly noted. “Without those deductions, I would have finished either 13th or 14th. They were heavy deductions.”

Kelly left for Bulgaria at 6 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12. She flew from Chicago to New York where she met other members of the United States team. From there she flew to Frankfort, Germany, and then into Sophia, arriving at 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13. It was a 33-hour period and she got very little sleep during that time.

“Once we got there, we had a strict training schedule,” she recalled. “We weren’t given much free time. Some of my family came over, too, but I only saw them for about an hour or so. But they had a great time.”

Kelly already has her sights set on next year’s competition.

“I plan to train this year and, hopefully, make the team again next year,” she said. “I’d really like to make the World Championship team. That competition will be held in St. Petersburg, Russia. But it’s going to take another year of hard training.”

Regardless of what happens in the future, Kelly will never forget her trip to Bulgaria.

“It was a great experience,” she said. “There are no words to describe it. It was awesome.”

Kelly is the daughter of Kal and Renee Keitel.