Madelyn Stevenson will represent NELA Gymnastics at the Regional in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Madelyn Stevenson of Bastrop has qualified for the Region 8 Xcel Regional Gymnastics Championships in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Stevenson advanced to the Regional by placing as an alternate at the state competition in Westwego.

A gymnast must score 34 (of a possible 40 points) to qualify for state and 36.5 to be eligible for the Regional.

Stevenson, who competes at the Xcel silver level, compiled her highest score on the beam. The remaining three events in competition are floor, vault and bars.

In all, 18 contestants from NELA Gymnastics in Bastrop entered the state event.

Stevenson, 11, started taking gymnastics when NELA Gymnastics opened its doors six years ago, and has been competing for five years. She is the first athlete from NELA Gymnastics to qualify for the Regional level.

"Not only is this big for Madelyn, this is big for everybody," said Erin Word, the owner and coach of NELA Gymnastics. "It's everybody's goal to go to Regional, but Madelyn's our first to qualify."

Besides training at NELA Gymnastics under Word and Jaimie Matthews, Stevenson has attended numerous camps. Last summer, she trained at Martha Kårolyi's camp in Huntsville, Texas. While there, Stevenson had the opportunity to meet Martha Kårolyi's husband, international gymnastics paragon Béla Kårolyi.

Stevenson is a sixth-grader at Beekman Charter School.