By Evan Reller
“Ali” Jackson started gymnastics later than most girls. When she was six, a friend convinced her to try it out and she has been hooked ever since.
Jackson, 15, hails from Belton, Mo., where she trains at Xtreme Gymnastics. Her brother, Trevor, runs track and cross country.
Jackson trains after school from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. She puts a priority on her school work and takes time out of her day to make sure it get accomplished. In her spare time, she enjoys reading.
Jackson’s favorite event is the floor exercise, but admits that vault is usually where she earns her top scores. She has been competing at Level 10 for nearly two years.
In 2010, she placed first in the all-around at the State Meet. In Regionals, she improved to first in the all around and qualified for the Junior Olympic National Championships. In 2011, she placed first in the all-around at the Buckeye Classic, a qualifying event for the 2011 Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup.
“I have great focus and don’t easily get distracted,” Jackson said. “It’s hard to overcome fear at a meet. I sometimes get nervous right before a competition but I always push past it.”
While she has yet to look at colleges, Jackson is planning on getting an athletic scholarship and will start looking soon.