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Bernheim Middle School's Hunter Etherton Earns State Honors in Gymnastics

Hunter Etherton

Bernheim Middle School sixth grade student Hunter Etherton is doing incredibly well academically in Advanced Math, Advanced Art and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Lab.

“My favorite class?” Hunter said responding to a question. “It is a fair fight between math and science.”

The 11 year-old son of Anne and Rick Etherton is also an athletically gifted gymnast who competed at Level 6 last year and medaled at all competitions (events include floor, vault, rings, high bar, pommel horse and parallel bars) during the season and received First Place all around at Wolfpack Invitational.

“I wasn’t that nervous competing because of all the practice,” he said. “I like learning new things in gymnastics and Tim Saxton is a really good coach.”

Anne Etherton recalled the reason Hunter became a gymnast.

“The child was literally bouncing off the walls all of the time,” she said. “He would never sit still so I put him in a tumbling class.”

Who would ever have thought this high energy youngster would take to gymnastics?

Even Anne was surprised when, during a practice, the teacher asked students to jump over some Styrofoam objects and land in a pit of sponge cubes.

This is just what Hunter did…he ran at top speed, jumped high in the air lifting his leg and arched his body into the sponge pit.

“That was when I realized how talented he was and I don’t mean to brag,” Anne said.

Hunter has since turned gymnastics into his own universe. He earned enough points, during the 2017/2018 competition season, to qualify for State where he earned Second Place all around and qualified to compete at Regionals in Chicago. This year he has qualified to take the 8/9 PSATS, which he will be doing in Chicago, the day before one of his meets!

This year, Hunter’s gymnastic skills have landed him at Level 8 competition and TS (Technical Sequences). He hopes to qualify for Nationals in Vegas.

Academically, Hunter did so well at Lebanon Junction, he was moved from 3rd to 4th grade. Anne said Hunter knows school always comes first.

“Hunter is a good kid with a plan,” she smiled. “When he gets home from school, he does what homework he can before going to gymnastics. When we return home, he finishes doing his homework.”

Fridays and Sundays are free days when Hunter gets organized for the days ahead. It is also the time he can relax by doing Rubik’s cubes, watching space videos and gaming videos or researching the gymnast he admires most, Sam Mikulak. Hunter feels his best gymnastic event, so far this year, is vault but his favorite events are high bar and pommel horse.

A gymnast since he was three years-old, Hunter trained five years with Champions in Louisville and now goes to SIGS Sportplex in New Albany, IN where he trains four hours a day, four days a week, including Saturdays.

This kind of dedication bodes well as Hunter aspires to compete and win World Cup competition and ultimately qualify for the Olympics. “My dream is to participate in the Olympics as a gymnast and I am training hard right now,” he said.

Academically he plans to work hard and earn a scholarship for college so he can work for NASA as a Research Astrophysicist.

Hunter has three siblings, sisters Stefani Juric, Rashelle Juric and Kallen Juric. His Mom is an Implementation Analyst for First Data. His Dad is 2nd shift supervisor at Dana Corp. on Westport Rd. in Louisville.

Hunter also practices the drums and performs covers during the spring and fall recitals at Little Flock Academy of Arts.

“Hunter has a big heart and is a really good kid. He loves to help and learn new things,” Anne said.    

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