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Houston County gymnast defies odds, heads to National USA Gymnastics Competition

15-year-old Jazlyn Jackson, will compete against nearly 100 girls in the national competition in Oklahoma City. Most of her competitors are collegiate athletes.

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — A15-year-old gymnast in Houston County has tumbled her way to a spot at the National USA Gymnastics competition. She'll go head to head against some of the toughest competitors in the country.

It's an accomplishment she says few her age reach. 

For Jazlyn Jackson, gymnastics is life. She has done the sport since she was four-years-old, and been competing in it since she was eight.

"I work out a lot, it's hard but like it's worth it," Jackson said.

She dedicates 20 hours a week to the sport while still soaring in the other areas of her life. 

"I do theatre, I'm in chorus, and school of course," she said.

She balances honors classes, a 4.0 gpa, and pretty well on her beams. 

"I like feeling accomplished. That's why I like doing competitions, and its fun," Jackson said. 

And accomplished she is, she is a first year level 10 gymnast. That's the highest level before elite. Many collegiate athletes fall in the level 10 category. 

As a first year, Jackson has scored herself a spot to compete at the national competition. 

"It's really big for me because a lot of older girls make it, or barely make it, and they've been doing level 10 for years," she said.

She'll go up against about 100 girls. There will be competitors from nearly 80 colleges. Only about 15 are from the state of Georgia, and even less are Black women.

If you ask Jazlyn where she found her courage, and dedication to get here, she'll say her idol, her mother Brandilyn.

"I'm so glad that I've had her as a role model in my life, she's really kept me where I am. She's the reason why I'm balancing out all this stuff," Jackson said.

In 2021, Jackson's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

"As a mom, you don't want to share bad news with your children," Brandi said.

She and Jazlyn agree that it took a toll on their spirit, but they got through it by being strong. 

"I always told her I'm gonna fight and I need you to fight, and as a family were gonna get through this," Brandilyn said.

The pair choose to fight together, working hard together on the mat. Brandi, is a former cheerleader, and gymnast herself, and pushes to be her best. 

"Things happen with sports as they do when you get older, so we try to incorporate knowing your body, knowing what to look for and paying attention to when your hurt or when you're not feeling well," Brandilyn said.

As Jazlyn heads to nationals, she says she's ready to make a name for herself. 

"I really want to go to college for gymnastics. I don't know where yet. I have like five different colleges I want to go to, but I really want to be like the top college girls, like Trinity Thomas or Haliegh Bryant, one of them. That's who I want to be," Jazlyn said.

Her mother will be right by her side to cheer her on. 

"I'm a proud mom. We're gonna go all the way. We're gonna go all the way," Brandi said.

The national competition is May 14. Jazlyn and Brandilyn thank their team and coaches at Precision South Gymnastics for all of their support. 

They cant wait to represent their team in Oklahoma City. 

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