ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Marissa Stouffer learned that gymnastics was her passion at just 3-years-old.
“My parents just put me in the sport and I just fell in love with it,” Stouffer explained.
The gymnast spends a lot of her free time training at LTD Academy in Altoona. Her coach Dawn Litzinger saw her potential from day one.
“She was one of our youngest girls that started,” Litzinger, who also owns LTD Academy, said. “Even at that age it was total hard work and dedication. She was one of those little kids that just had goals and wouldn’t give up until she reached them.”
Stouffer is now 16-years-old and she continues to reach for her dreams.
A couple months ago she became the level 9 state champion. She then went on to win regionals and now she’s heading to Florida to compete in nationals.
“It’s incredible,” Cydnie Fredericks, another one of Stouffer’s coaches, said. “I could just go on and on with explanations of how hard it is to get to this level.”
The Altoona Area High School student is constantly perfecting her skills. She practices 4 days a week and even comes in occasionally for private lessons.
“You just have to think what your goals are and you have to train really hard and not let anything set you back,” Stouffer said.
Stouffer hopes to get a gymnastics scholarship to Penn State or Florida.
She competes at nationals in Florida on Sunday, May 12.