All-Star The Little Gym That Could

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Mar 7, 2011
News and Tribune

August 3, 2011
MOVING ON UP: Twist-N-Turns winning championships, expanding facility

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Twist-N-Turns is the little gym that could.
At least that’s how owner Misti Lynch describes it. And after two of her squads were named overall champions in a compeition against gyms with more than twice as many members, it’s hard to argue with that statement.
For nearly 10 years, Twist-N-Turns, located along Industrial Parkway in Jeffersonville, has been teaching kids as young as 3 years old to, well, twist and turn, among other things. Lynch and her staff, which includes former high school, collegiate and all-star cheerleaders, coach their students in cheerleading and tumbling. And it seems Lynch and her staff are doing well, at least according to the judges for The U.S. Finals — Final Destination cheer and dance competitions.
After qualifying for one of the eight U.S. Finals — Final Destination events, squads from Twist-N-Turns went to Indianapolis with about 300 other teams. In Indianapolis, performances were judged and videotaped. The top performances from Indianapolis were re-judged against performances from the other seven events in cities around the country. Then overall winners were chosen for each division.
Two of the winners came out of Twists n Turns.
“We were shocked,” Lynch said.
Twist-N-Turns Comets won in the level five senior open cheer and level four senior co-ed cheer divisions. Winning level five means, “they kicked butt,” said Tina Sexton, executive director of The U.S. Finals — Final Destination, a partnership between event producers JAM Brands and the NLCC. The U.S. Finals — Final Destination has 90 divisions to include teams of all different ages and ability levels. The highest level is six, which is reserved for college-age competitors. Level five is the highest level available to register a team into and requires difficult routines, Sexton said. This was the first year a squad from Twist-N-Turns gym competed in level five.
Amber Weathers, who has been coaching with Lynch for five years, said she wasn’t sure how the squad would do at level five, but when they got there and saw how the kids were doing on the first day, she knew they were ready. The judges agreed.
After the competition in April, winners were announced via the Internet in late May, but Lynch said she almost didn’t even bother to watch it.
“That’s how much I didn’t expect it,” Lynch said.
After being reminded about the announcement, Lynch pulled it up on her computer and waited for the results with her coaches on speaker phone. When the announcement came, she began to cry. Her tears of joy were interrupted by the kids calling and texting.
“Apparently the kids were watching,” Lynch said.
Megan Nickles, 15, who competed on both the level four and five squads, was watching with her mom.
“I started balling my eyes out,” Nickles said. “We worked so hard through the year. This was our first year competing in level five and people told us we couldn’t win.”
Lynch credits her success to the amount of time the kids on her squads have been together. She said about 80 percent have been working together for about four years now.
“We know what each other is thinking,” Lynch said. “The kids know what I’m going to say before it comes out of my mouth.”
The bonds that have been formed and great support from parents have contributed to the success of Twist-N-Turns in competitions and as a business, Lynch said.
Success comes with its challenges. Weathers said space limitations in the 4,000-square-foot facility have caused her to come to the gym seven days a week so her private lessons don’t interfere with group training.
“We’re just bustin’ out,” Weathers said.
This is the third home for Twist-N-Turns. It started in Clarksville, then moved to Sellersburg and have plans to expand again in the spring of next year with a 7,000-square-foot facility to be built across the street from its current location.
Lynch also plans to expand the services her gym offers with a special needs team starting Aug. 12 and an all-ages dance team starting in January.
All this success and expansion has come despite being in an area saturated with gyms providing tumbling and cheerleading instruction. What sets Twist-N-Turns apart varies depending on who you ask. Weathers said it’s their attention to detail. She said she treats the students the same whether their 4 years old or 18.
“If they make a mistake, we expect them to listen just the same,” Weathers said.
Lynch credits the way squads are built from tinies — ages 5 and younger — on up and her hands-on approach with all those squads.
“Amber (Weathers) and I coach every team,” Lynch said.
If you ask Nickles, she quickly replies, “The coach. Misti (Lynch) pushes us.”
Whatever the cause, it seems one thing is certain: The little gym in Jeffersonville is twisting and turning in the right direction.