Life upside down: Seven-year-old gymnast is a New Jersey champion

Vivianna Kaeser is the 2018 Level 2 New Jersey State Champion in Gymnastics.

For Vivianna Kaeser, gymnastics was predestined.

“I knew it was inevitable,” Kaeser’s mother, Jill said. “She’s been upside down most of her life.”

Today, the 7-year-old Moorestown resident is the 2018 Level 2 New Jersey state champion in gymnastics. At the Level 2 New Jersey State Championships in May, Kaeser brought home a medal in every event. She took gold in vault, balance beam and the all around competition. Kaeser placed third on uneven bars and floor exercise.

Jill said it all started when the family was living in Philadelphia. She said Vivianna took an introductory tumbling class through her daycare program, and several of the instructors told Jill her daughter was extremely talented for her age. Jill said it wasn’t until a nationally ranked coach came to visit the class and told her how good her daughter was that they gave competitive gymnastic serious consideration.

Vivianna enrolled at Will-Moor Gymnastics at the age of 5 and competed in her first meet at the age of 6. Jill said her Vivianna’s coaches had told her she was talented, but when she swept the competition at her first meet, she realized just how true their words were.

With school followed immediately by gymnastics practices late into the evening, the family decided to give Vivianna until January at George C. Baker Elementary School. Jill said they decided to try homeschooling for the remainder of the school year so Vivianna could attend practices during the day. She said she allotted half a year to see if Vivianna would miss school and want to go back, but she’s been entirely devoted to gymnastics.

Kim Bonus, Vivianna’s coach and owner of Will-Moor, said in her 45 years of coaching, she is one of the top five students she’s ever trained. She said she’s never seen a 7 year old with Vivianna’s level of focus and determination.

She said Vivianna doesn’t have a weak event, and she’s fearless when it comes to learning new skills. She said her greatest strength is her ability to jump and her tumbling skills are excellent for age.

“She really does have true star quality,” Bonus said.

She described Vivianna as “very coachable.” She said she maintains eye contact when she hears a criticism and immediately makes the correction.

Jill echoed the sentiment. She said her daughter is uncharacteristically disciplined for a 7-year-old.

“She enjoys doing things over and over again until she feels like it’s right,” Jill said. “She’ll keep going.”

Vivianna practices around 26 hours a week. Much like her skill-level, her take on the competition is far beyond that of a typical 7-year-old. She said she sometimes gets nervous for a meet, but the hardest part of a competition isn’t the athleticism.

“[It’s] not letting people get under your skin,” Vivianna said.

Both mother and daughter agree the most important part is that Vivianna has fun at competition. While the gymnastics world is something new to mother and daughter alike, Jill said she’s happy her daughter feels so passionately about the sport.

“I’m glad that she found something she loves, and we will support her,” Jill said.