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The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

Messing, Hale compete for spot in acrobatics World Championships

Julia+Messing%2C+Macyn+Hale+and+their+partner+compete+at+the+Pan+American+Club+Games+in+Ibagu%C3%A9%2C+Columbia.
Photo courtesy Julia Messing
Julia Messing, Macyn Hale and their partner compete at the Pan American Club Games in Ibagué, Columbia.

As the 2:30 bell rings, senior Julia Messing and junior Macyn Hale sprint to their cars to get out of the parking lot, not to beat the traffic, but to get to practice on time. Messing and Hale are part of an acrobatic (acro) gymnastics trio, one that competes all over the country and world at an elite level.

Messing started acro in the seventh grade, after trying it out at a summer camp and enjoying it. It wasn’t until she realized how much she loved the sport that she continued to put more effort into it and fully commit herself to acro, reaching the level she is today. Hale has been doing acro for seven years, however, accidentally fell in love with the sport. “I originally wanted to do cheer but I signed up for acro by mistake and just stayed in it because I thought it was really cool,” Hale said.

Hale and Messing have been in a trio together for two years, with the same ultimate goal of going to the world championships for acrobatics and winning a medal. “I plan on making it to worlds through a lot of hard work and dedication. There are a lot of extremely talented trios I will be up against, but I plan on pushing as hard as I can, even when things get difficult,” Messing said.

The two compete in a trio with one other athlete at the gym Xtreme Acro & Cheer, located in Rockville. The gym is in Region 7, one of the most popular regions in the country, comprising all the teams in the Mid-Atlantic area. The trio practices five to six times a week for four hours each time.

As the two athletes leave school, they know they most likely will not get home until around 9 p.m.. Because of this, Messing and Hale make it important to stay on top of their work and not procrastinate. Despite the overwhelming practice schedule and amount of work, Messing has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her time in high school. “Over time, I have learned not to procrastinate, as doing so will result in late work. Right when I leave school, I go straight to practice and get home around 8 at the earliest on weekdays. Once I get home, I immediately shower, eat dinner, and get all of my work out of the way so I can be in bed around 11. On days with more work, I will work through lunch or study throughout the day to ensure I keep my grades up,” Messing said.

The trio recently came back from the Pan American Club Games for the 12-18 division in Ibagué, Columbia. At this competition, the three girls placed gold in their division for their overall score in the three routines they competed. Messing, Hale and their other partner Jocyna (Jocy) Hall compete in nine to 14 competitions per season, ranging from their local Region 7 competitions to competitions like the world championships in Israel if selected. Messing and Hale placed third at the Nationals competition last year with their former partner. These competitions will help build the trio’s resume for the National Team Trials in January 2024.

The Pan American competition was the furthest either athlete had ever been for a competition, and “was the first competition I’ve gone to out of the country and I got to go with my closest friends,” Hale said.

After Messing graduates this year, she plans to attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore on the pre-dental track to become an orthodontist. Hale plans to conclude her acro career after the World Championship and would like to participate in media or marketing for a sports team.

The World Championships were originally supposed to be held from March 21 to 31 of 2024 in Israel, however, due to the war against Gaza, they were postponed until late 2024. Because of this, Messing’s decisions for college were factored into the future of the trio. With Messing going to college in Baltimore, she will be able to continue to practice with her trio, much different than other trios that include current high school seniors. “I plan on continuing for my first year of college (I will commute from Baltimore) and retiring after,” Messing said.

The trio next competes in January for the National Team Trials. Due to the delay of the World Championships, the team that wins the National competition will attend the World Championship. Messing and Hale are hopeful to make it to the competition and continue to work to bring home a medal.

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Ellie Mollica, Online Editor-in-Chief
Senior Ellie Mollica is the online editor-in-chief in her third year on the Common Sense staff. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family and cheering on the Wootton cheer team. You can also find her on Instagram @elliemollicaa.
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