RUTLAND - Tears sometimes well up in Shelby Jones' eyes when she
speaks of her students accomplishments. Having been a dancer
herself since age three and gymnast since age 10, as well as a
competitive snowboarder and diver, Jones knows the hard work it
takes to succeed. She also knows the adage "once you fall down, you
just have to get back up" to be true. Jones now passes on not only
skills but also such life lessons to younger generations at Cobra
Gymnastics and Dance Center in Rutland.
After leaving her home state of Massachusetts in
1993, Jones traveled for almost a decade in the Rocky and
Cascade Mountains. While gaining experience working in many gyms
throughout the country she was inspired to open a gym of her own.
In 2003 she settled in Rutland and, after the birth of her third
child, Jones decided the time had come to make her aspiration
become a reality.
In 2010, Cobra Gymnastics and Dance Center was born. The 6,500
square foot facility welcomes kids as young as 18-months-old
through adulthood. With 19 instructors, Coach Jones now offers the
community a wide range of activities. The gymnastics program
includes summer camps, open gyms, aerial, pre-school, recreation,
tumbling and competitive team classes. The dance studio
offers classes in yoga, Middle Eastern & African dance, NIA and
Jones says she strives to build all athletes toward success with
positive and healthy methods; to build their confidence, motivation
and perseverance to become successful in life, she explains. Many
have witnessed precisely such accomplishments.
"Cobra's competitive gymnastics team has given my daughter the
confidence she needed to believe she truly is and can be a strong
athlete," said parent Shannon Baldwin. "She's always been little in
body for her age, but now sees herself as strong and powerful
despite others first impressions. Ashleigh has learned to work
hard, stay focused, with determination and perseverance… it is very
rewarding, not by the many medals she's won, but by the
self-confidence and self-esteem she now has."
Another parent, Heidi E. Conway, was also please with her
daughters experience and skills. "My daughter could not do a
cartwheel when she started and is now full of confidence and on the
Cobra Gymnastics Team!" Conway said. "She is not only thriving, but
also placed first in the State gymnastics meet; much like most of
the other Cobra Team girls. Cobra has definitely changed my
Photo by Erin Bellomo
On June 8 and 9, nine Cobra gymnasts competed in the Regional
Championship at the 2013 Xcel Champions Invitational in Boxboro,
Mass. Gymnasts came from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont to compete on the vault,
bars, floor and balance beam.
Cobra's team, Xcel Gold, took home third place which included
8-12 year old girls. Jenna Sunderland scored 32.825, Ana Aguilar
scored 34.175 and Sarah Ferrera (the current VT State Champion of
the Gold level Xcel team on the vault) scored 34.950.
Cobra's second team, Xcel Silver, comprised of 8-10 year old's
brought home fourth place. Clara Johnson scored 34.100, Taylor
Catrini scored 32.925, Kiara Lapenna scored 33.525 and Katie Haas
Xcel Gold for age 13 and up included Emma Steenbergen who scored
Gymnast Sarah Ferrera took sixth place in the floor routine and
also ninth place all-around.
Mollie Giancola, who competed as an individual, scored
Earlier in the season at the Vermont State Championships, Mia
Marsh took the title of Bronze All-Around Champion, ages 6-7.
Marsh, winning the entire meet in her age division, was perhaps
the biggest accomplishment for a Cobra athlete this year.
Jones is a compassionate instructor who instills confidence,
perseverance and motivation. She may not build an Olympian in the
gym, but building positive character is certainly an Olympic
For more information on Cobra's teams, dance center, events, and
results, visit www.cobravt.com.