Bellefonte senior comes home a national champion 


Submitted Photo

Landon Simpson successfully holds t-pose securing sixth place in the nation on rings.

Davis Corman, Editor-in-Chief

On May 9-15, the United States Gymnastics (USAG) hosted its Men’s Development Program National Championships in Oklahoma City. This two-day event brought juniors from around the country who had qualified as a level 10 gymnast in prior competitions. One individual competing was Bellefonte senior, Landon Simpson. 

Landon has been competing in gymnastics since he was 5 years-old, qualifying for the national competition 6 times prior. As he is a senior, he competed in the 19 year-old division, with this being his last year of eligibility for the junior national competition. 

“It was sad knowing that this was my last time competing as a junior. But I am beyond excited for bigger and better things,” Landon said.

On day one, things didn’t go as planned for Landon. Although he started off strong with his floor routine, he would earn a major deduction on the pommel horse, falling off of the equipment. This was unexpected for Landon, with the event being one of his best. The dedication jeopardize his chances at making the US National Men’s Championships. 

“After my first day, I thought my chances of qualifying were over. I was so irritated because I had practiced and done my pommel routine many times prior and yet fell on the big stage,” he said. 

Landon came off strong on day two, starting on the rings where he nailed his routine. This confidence boost propelled him throughout the rest of his events, all the way up onto his final: the pommel horse. This was the same event that he failed on the previous day. A solid routine would land him a bid to the Men’s Championships and a national title, while a fall would mean the end of his 2023 season.

“Going into my last horse routine was probably the most nervous I have ever been. Qualifying to the US Championships was on the line and winning the all round title was so close too,” he said.

Despite his shaky warmup performance, Landon finished his routine with no major errors, officially earning himself a bid to the Men’s National Championship.

“It was like a giant weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I did everything I could and ended my last junior routine on a high note,” he said.

Along with the bid, Landon also earned himself numerous national titles. This included a national championship on the parallel bars, silver medal in the all around, and a bronze on the floor. Now Landon will be training throughout the summer to prepare for the Men’s National Championships which will take place on August 27-29 in San Jose, California.