Local gymnasts make their way onto the national scene

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Whitney Torchia has been in gymnastics class since she was eighteen months old, her experience sets her apart from others her age but she still struggles, especially with math.

“I’m learning multiplication,” said Whitney.

But her moves on the mat are unmatched, just like several others who train at the Gymnastics Academy of Charleston. 


“I practice everyday except Sunday and Tuesday,” recalled Georgia Reed.

It’s that kind of commitment that requires a balanced schedule, and if the work is put in then the balance is seen on the beam.

Chesney Bennett & Juliana Schempf are two of the best in the state. They’re the only gymnasts to represent the lowcountry, and Palmetto State (ages 7-10) at the Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas, learning from the coaches who taught the U.S. Women’s national team.


Valerie Matyskiel is the head coach and co-owner of Gymnastics Academy of Charleston, she travelled down with the girls to observe the top-notch training. 

“It’s a crazy week of just intense gymnastics,” said Matyskiel.


The kids were even more impressed.

“It was fascinating to hear the words of wisdom,” recalls Bennett.


The trip to Texas has done wonders for the pair and others at the Gym, providing an extra ounce of inspiration when the well runs dry.

“I usually have hard days and I want to go home and cry,” said Reed. “But then I’m like, well I’m just going to regret it and I just want to come to practice the next day.”

“Don’t give up,” said Bennett. “Because once you keep going, you realize how much fun it is and how hard your work pays off.”

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