At age 6, O.B. Gates Elementary first grader Kayla Bowen has won as many National Championships as John Wooden did in UCLA’s heyday.
Ten national titles is nothing to laugh at. Kayla has been cheerleading since the age of 4, and her dedication is also nothing to laugh at. For Kayla, these championships are individual, but it seems to be only a matter of time before championships come at the team level.
Like most children her age, a typical day for Kayla begins with the six- to seven-hour school day. Next comes homework, if she has any, and then the gym at least four or five days per week. Why? Because she enjoys cheerleading so much and, even at 6, has a deep drive to succeed. She greatly enjoys practicing her technique.
Hearing her mother, Regina Bowen, and her coach for the past two years, Kensey McGrath, talk about her, one would simply think Kayla is supernatural. While watching her videos on YouTube, one would think there’s no way she already possesses the kind of skill and coordination she does.
McGrath attributes Kayla’s talent to both natural ability and the care the team, Fame All-Stars, takes with its students.
“We’re ranked the 11th best program in the country, we have state of the art equipment, all of our coaches are certified with what they do and everyone has lots of experience in what they do,” said McGrath. “It’s definitely an excellent environment for development.”
Kayla is currently a member of two cheerleading teams; one is a level two team, with kids around her age. The second is a level three, with older kids. Kayla is classified as a level five tumbler. This is the typical level for students who are 12-18 years old. Kayla practices with the older team each Wednesday.
“She’s extremely well rounded,” said McGrath. “She’s learned several aspects of cheerleading, performances, she’s built up endurance, and she can throw combinations for her team that will help her team out with bonus points. She is definitely leaps and bounds ahead of the competition for her age.”
As far as a future with cheerleading, proud parents Regina and John Bowen are hopeful for bigger and better things for their daughter.
The top competition in college cheerleading recruits directly from the competitions Kayla will be able to compete in once she reaches age 12, and with that type of talent, someone is sure to come calling with a scholarship.
“We’re really excited for her and her future, and the cutest thing is that she excels so much,” Regina Bowen said. “It’s really cute because girls will come up to her and ask for her autograph, or even picture requests, because she is so highly regarded by her peers and competition.”
Being no stranger to success, and definitely unafraid of the big stage, as she has performed in large competitions in big cities all over the country such a Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Baltimore, Kayla does seem set for success. McGrath feels Kayla could also be a very talented gymnast, perhaps at an Olympic level, if she didn’t have the passion she does for cheerleading.
“There have been talks about cheerleading becoming an Olympic sport, I believe that Kayla could also be an amazing gymnast,” said McGrath. “But she has such a passion for the sport of cheerleading.”
Kayla has such athletic ability and know-how during performances that she is able to judge moves, based on her jump height and momentum, and adlib performances to make sure she’ll be able to stick the landing on a combination. Athleticism seems to be in the Bowen genetics, as both of Kayla’s brothers, Blake and Bryson, are multi-sport athletes.
“I’ve been blessed with three very talented kids,” said Regina Bowen. “And Kayla just has so much room to grow.”
Kayla is definitely a crowd pleaser and quite the performer. She’s learned from her mistakes and been able to make adjustments, even at a young age.
“At the end of the day, we know she’ll be out there performing,” said Regina Bowen. “Win or lose, she loves to perform.”
Check out Kayla on YouTube by searching her name, and on the Village News’ Video of the Week at villagenewsonline.com.