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Newton County gymnast excels in AAU Nationals
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Kristi Rene Smith, a 10-year-old Newton County resident, had quite a remarkable week during the 2007 AAU National Gymnastics Competition held July 4-8 in Tampa, Fla.

On Sunday, Smith was awarded first place overall for her age group based on her wonderful performance in four separate events - bars, beam, vault and floor exercise.

"It felt great," said Smith. "I was proud; it felt really good."

But it wasn't easy for the young gymnast; Smith competed against 48 other athletes in her age group.

Smith regularly trains at the Rockdale Gymnastics facility in Conyers. She wanted to thank her coaches for all their support - Joe Ashley, Cynthia Davis, Drew Davis and Mary Jane Warner.

"I had never done anything like that before," said Smith regarding her victory. "It was very exciting."