Keenan Howell wins state championship


Moves to Rancho Santa Margarita to continue training

Keenan Howell is a State Champion once again! The last time the Atascadero News checked in with the trampoline prodigy he had just won not one, not two, but three National Titles in Greensboro, NC. Howell had his heart set on making the Elite Development team and ran away with the solo competition, and then won the synchronized competition with a partner he had only practiced with once.

A lot has changed for the 13-year-old in the past year. He made the Elite Development Team and has been training with them for months. He has now ascended into the competition level called “Youth Elite” and has once again set his sights on another lofty goal.

Howell is currently ranked No.1 in the country for trampoline as a junior elite and has uprooted his life in Atascadero in order to take his skills to the next level. Howell’s parents have rented an apartment in Rancho Santa Margarita so that their son can train with the world’s best. He has gone from training only three times a week (at Legacy, his previous gym) to now practicing nine times a week at World Elite (his new gym).

Howell’s new coach is Logan Dooley, an Olympian and world champion. At World Elite, Howell is the youngest member and surrounded by Olympians and World Champions who are always trying to help him reach his full potential.

Howell has started homeschooling due to all of the extra time that he puts into the gym. School has never been something that has come easy for future Olympian. Howell has been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia and now has to learn most of his curriculum reading from a computer screen.  

“Keenan has severe deficits like his ADHD is off the hook,” Howell’s mother Zoe said. “And he has dyslexia really bad. Academics are painful for him, like really painful. But, it’s like he gets all these extra things that other people don't have, his air-awareness and his way to physically be in his body the way other people can’t.”

When Howell sets his mind to something, he obsesses over it. He thinks about it laying in bed at night and in the morning when he wakes up. His obsession is his trampoline routine and through his hard work and preparation, he has risen to the very top.

The world of sports has opened doors to Howell that might have been closed had he not found sanctuary in the gym.

“My older kids suffered from their dyslexia and their ADHD and they were told they were no good, that they were a disciplinary problem, that they were bad and they started to believe it,” Zoe Howell said. “But Keenan started TNT [trampoline and tumbling] so young and did so well — he’s got accolades and it’s made him try harder, and want it even more because his self-esteem has never been impacted negatively and that is all thanks to sport.”

Howell’s mother and father are now working as much overtime as they can possibly find to help ensure their boy can achieve his dreams. His grandmother is in the process of selling her house so that she can move in with her grandson and help with the costs of the competitions.

“We are all team Howell now,” Zoe Howell said.

Howell’s new goal is to qualify for World Age Groups which would earn him his USA Gymnastic jersey, allow him to begin competing for the United States and to receive an international ranking.

In order to make the World Age Groups Howell will, in all likelihood, have to win another National Title because it takes a certain amount of points that are cumulative through state, regionals, and nationals.

If he does make it, he will be competing in Saint Petersburg, Russia in November.

Howell has a few big months ahead of him. In May he will travel to Las Vegas for the regional competition (the entire western half of the United States) and a week later he flies to Colorado Springs for the National Elite Challenge. He will then have a month to prepare for the National Championships which will take place in Greensboro, NC.

The Howell family has set up a Gofundme page to help raise funds for their son. It can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/get-keenan-howell-to-the-olympics or by simply typing “Keenan Howell” into the search bar (it’s the top link on Google).


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