NEWPORT NEWS (WAVY) – World Class Gymnastics has produced hundreds of All-Americans, national champions, and Division I athletes over its 21-year history, but never has it sent an athlete to the Olympic Trials.

Ava Siegfeldt is the first.

“It’s unreal. It’s an honor,” said Siegfeldt. The 16-year old from Williamsburg is one of 18 who will compete for 10 spots at the trials in St. Louis, Missouri.

In reality, it will be 16 athletes competing for eight spots, considering Simone Biles and Jordan Chiles are virtual locks. Siegfeldt’s chances of making the team are slightly higher than in years past, because Team USA will be selecting four alternates, just in case of a COVID-19 issue.

“It’s definitely more exciting, because it’s more of a possibility to be a part of the team,” said Siegfeldt.

Homeschooled through Warhill High School, Siegfeldt nearly gave up the sport years back because of physical and mental wear and tear. Tami Elliott, who competed at the 1984 Olympic trials, would not let that happen. “I (told her), ‘You’re not quitting. I’m not letting you quit. You’re too good,'” said Elliott, who also owns World Class Gymnastics.

Siegfeldt never quit, and now, she’s the also the first in the history of the training center to be named to the U.S. National Team. She’ll be competing right alongside Biles at the trials in St. Louis, but that’s not where her focus will be.

“My goal is to just do the best that I possibly can, and hit the routines; the best that I can do, and see what happens.” said Siegfeldt.