Atascadero’s own, Keenan Howell has returned from Nationals in Milwaukee with two more National Champions hanging around his neck. Howell began turning heads a few weeks back when he won his first National Title, and now has won three in a matter of six weeks (all before the age of 14).
At the national tournament, Howell was also offered the tremendous honor of carrying out the flag during the flag ceremony.
“Well the state chair got to choose one boy to carry out the flag at the flag ceremony at nationals,” Howell said of the process. “That was a huge honor, I’m so glad I got too, I mean it’s only one boy out of the whole nation.”
Howell was able to come home with two national titles because he competed in two events at Nationals, trampoline (his bread and butter) and synchronized trampoline. Howell had never competed in synchronized trampoline, and until a few days before nationals, had never even practiced it. Performing ten Olympic dives with immense difficulty back-to-back is already a daunting task, but doing so perfectly synchronized with someone else with little practice is insane, but that’s what he did.
“Even though we won first, we had no training at all pretty much.” Howell said of his preparation for synchronized trampoline.”
“We had known each other for a long time and we’ve been good friends, and said ‘hey let’s give it a try.’” Howell said of his partnership with Marcus Davis. Due to complications in their traveling schedules the two boys practiced only once before Nationals, and for a couple minutes before their run. To see their routine go to the Atascadero News website and watch Howell’s interview. After winning the synchronized competition, Howell set his sights on the individual competition, something he has been training for all year. After only his first couple flips it was obvious that Howell was going to run away with the medal and that this was now a competition for second place.
“My individual trampoline routines went very good,” Howell said. “I won first out of 20 I believe.”
Howell won the individual trampoline title by a three-point margin, which is massive if you are unfamiliar with the scoring system.
Howell has qualified for the elite development and will begin training with them this fall. The elite development team trains the most promising and deserving gymnasts and grooms them into Olympic champions. Howell will be too young to compete in the 2020 Olympics but his sights are currently set on 2024. The travel has been rigorous, Howell has flown to multiple states in pursuit of his dreams. If you would like to help this future Greyhound and possible gold medalist make it to the Olympics, the family has set up a gofundme page with all of the proceeds going directly to travel and training (https://www.gofundme.com/get-keenan-howell-to-the-olympics).