Jumpers qualify for tourney in Australia

Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Five Juneau girls have the chance to go Down Under this summer - thanks to their ability to jump over.

Isabel Bush, Amber Johnson, Lesley Kalbrener, Nicole Lim and Tera Ross - members of the Juneau Jumpers competitive jump rope team - finished second overall in the female age 15-17 division at the U.S. World Team Qualifying Tournament, held last weekend in Cleveland.

That team finish qualified the Jumpers for the World Jump Rope Championships to be held in late July in Brisbane, Australia.

The Jumpers, coached by Scott and Donna Johnson, sent a team of five to the world championships in Ghent, Belgium, in April 2002. Amber Johnson is the lone holdover from that squad.

Last weekend's victory was even more meaningful due to the adversity the Jumpers faced. Three days before the competition, Kalbrener was injured during practice and could not jump in the tournament.

So the remaining four team members stepped up to fill gaps in the various events. With Kalbrener able to turn the rope in a few events, the team rallied to its strong finish.

"We went down with hopes of just doing our best," Amber Johnson said. "But we pulled together as a team. ...

"I'm just so proud of our team. We had three days to pull it together, and we did."

The Jumpers won two of the eight events in their division - the double-Dutch single freestyle and the single-rope team freestyle - and finished second in two others. They were second overall in the four single-rope events, and third overall in the four double-Dutch events.

The Bouncing Bulldogs team from North Carolina finished first in the Jumpers' division.

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