Keeton Leaps for Success at States

Thomas Nealon, Staff Writer

According to USA Gymnastics, there are more than 100,000 youth gymnasts that compete each year. Approximately 7,000 are male gymnasts. One of these gymnasts is Geoff Keeton ’18, a freshman here at Staples.

Geoff recently competed at the Level 8 state championship (levels range from 1-10) and placed fourth place on the still rings. This was Keeton’s best performance of the year, where he was one point away from qualifying for New England Championships set to take place later this spring.

Keeton was pretty disappointed by the result, but satisfied with his overall performance.

“At first I was pretty angry, but when I started to truly reflect I was pretty happy with how I did,” Keeton said smiling, “After all, I was one point away from qualifying and that’s pretty impressive considering that I train less than the other gymnasts.”

Keeton was not wrong when he said he trains less than the other gymnasts. His gym, Next Dimensions located in Trumbull, offers a program to male gymnasts that allow them to train only three times a week. This is significantly less compared to the other gymnasts who train five to six times a week.

Keeton was originally disappointed when he discovered that Staples doesn’t offer any male gymnastics programs to students.

“I was disappointed because I wanted to represent the school and showcase my skill,” Keeton said, “But it is understandable that Staples doesn’t offer a program due to the fact that there aren’t many male gymnasts.”

David Keeton, Geoff’s father, was also disappointed with this news. But David Keeton believes his son has benefited more from an outside program. He believes that Geoff’s sacrifices and commitment to Next Dimensions have taught him valuable life lessons that might not have been offered at Staples.

“It is hard to recognize the fact that it takes an incredible amount of time and dedication to prepare for and master the skills that we see in any of his competitions,” David Keeton said. “Seeing Geoffrey work hard is a constant reminder to both of us to incorporate the lessons we have both learned into our lives as much as possible.”

He reminisced of his son trying a more difficult landing on the pole vault. “Even though he didn’t ‘stick’ the landing, his willingness to take a chance and increase the level of difficulty really impressed us,” David Keeton said, “This was a big leap and we’re simply proud of him taking on the challenges of learning new routines and judging criteria.”

Although Geoff Keeton didn’t qualify for the New England championships, his coach was still very excited for him.

“To accomplish what he did with as little experience as he did is very impressive from a coach’s perspective,” he said, “Geoff is making great strides of improvement everyday and I’m happy for him because I know how hard he has worked, he deserves everything he’s earned.”