M.L. King gymnast scores big on world stage

M.L. King gymnast scores big on international stage
Posted on 01/20/2023
This is the image for the news article titled M.L. King gymnast scores big on international stageMya Spotwood, a fourth-grader at Martin Luther King Intermediate School, won first place at a prestigious international gymnastics championship.

Mya took the gold medal in the all-around at the Atlantis Crown Invitational in Nassau, Bahamas, from Dec. 16 to 18, the largest gymnastics competition in the Caribbean. At her level, Mya competed against 74 gymnasts from Jamaica, Canada, the Bahamas, United Kingdom, and across the United States.

“Both her dad and I are exceptionally proud,” said her mother, Yasmeen Spotwood, “not only of her accomplishments but her dedication that, one, she’s good at, and two, that she loves.”

Mya Spotwood in action

Mya was modest about her accomplishment and didn’t want a lot of recognition at school, but her King family is extremely proud nonetheless.

“Mya’s accomplishment is clearly a terrific honor, and we are so happy to hear this wonderful news!” said Martin Luther King Principal Andrew Kehoe. “Such an achievement accurately represents how hard she works each day. Well done to Mya and her family!”

A closer look shows the magnitude of her accomplishment. Mya competes at Level 7 in USA Gymnastics, the sport’s national governing body. Level 1-5 are for gymnasts still building their foundational skills. Levels 6-10 are known as “optional” levels, where skills become increasingly advanced. Mya’s score of 38.001 on the all-around was the highest of any of the 389 gymnasts competing at all five optional levels.

Mya and her mother

To further illustrate how impressive Mya’s victory was, King Assistant Principal James Overton relayed a story about a visit from two athletes from the Rutgers University gymnastics team, who came to King to speak with students. The gymnasts, Myra Daniels and Kylie Haffner, recalled having competed in the same tournament when they were younger, but neither placed as high as Mya.

When they heard about Mya’s victory, they were very impressed and sat and talked with her about their experiences in gymnastics. Mya and her family are now looking into attending a Rutgers meet to see them in action.

Mya continued her run of success the weekend of Jan. 14-15 at the Star Struck Invitational in Atlantic City, where her all-around score of 38.225 put her at No. 32 on the Top 100 Gymnast list for Level 7.

Mya Spotwood