the american national championships

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Reclaiming Fitspo: Alexa Moreno

Alexa Citlali Moreno Medina is a Mexican gymnast. Born in 1994 in Mexicali, Mexico, she made her senior international debut at the 2010 Pacific Rim Championships in Australia, where she won Bronze on the vault. Her career was highly reported upon: she won team Gold and vault Silver at  the Central American & Caribbean Games, and won team Bronze at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara.

Moreno has consistently competed in the  Pan American Championships, Mexican National Championships and World Championships, but she is most well known for her performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics.  She placed twelfth on vault, twenty-eighth on floor exercise, thirty-first in the all-around, fifty-first on balance beam, and fifty-ninth on uneven bars, and qualified as a second reserve for the all-around.

Click here to see all #Reclaiming-Fitspo profiles.

Exactly two years ago, I recalled at my first national championship

and to be honest, I feel very weird about it. 

Maybe this is my personal contribution to the “What’s Your Dance Story” ask, maybe this is just a waste of space to get some things off my chest. But really, I think it’s just about time I finally discuss a few of the reasons why I fell off the competitive map in 2016. 

The 2015 North American Irish National Championships in Providence, Rhode Island, was my first national competition. 

I had been in open championships for roughly eight months, although due to a transfer ban, I had only competed twice at that level prior to the 2015 North American Irish Dancing Championships. I was not expecting to make the top half.

I’ll never forget the surge of emotions I experienced upon hearing the announcer call number 125 – my number – for the recall. Shock, joy, relief, disbelief. I just sort of collapsed there against the back corner of the ballroom and shamelessly cried until I managed to get up and find my parents. I cried on the escalator trying to find lunch to eat, I cried before my set, I cried after my set, I cried that night in the shower trying to scrub the orange Sally Hansen off my thighs. It all seemed so shocking, so wonderful, so surreal. 

But that’s the thing about competitive Irish dance. It’s sort of like childbirth. You go through hell and back training for that one lofty goal, and when at long last you reach the finish line, you’re too overjoyed to dwell on the pain. 

No one said it’d be easy, they said it’d be worth it. 

But was it really?

In many ways, it certainly was. No matter how difficult things were, I obtained my end goal. A beautiful medal, a set dance in a quiet hall, the status of being in the top division of North America. At face value, it was a total success. Even behind the scenes it certainly was a beneficial experience for me in many ways. Recalling at nationals gave me a reason to believe in myself and my abilities. It more than proved to me that hard work always beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. In the six months of training leading up to the 2015 Nationals, I relearned to dance. I reinvented my style. I received invaluable instruction and insight at classes. I finally felt like part of the “champion” crowd. I started placing at feises. I even won a sash. I was on the right track to qualifying for worlds – a goal I had previously believed to be intangible.

Everything was great. 

Actually, not it wasn’t. 

It was supposed to be great, but it wasn’t. 

I won a sash at a feis. I got third place at a competition against a world champion. 

I’d also spent majority of the day hyperventilating in my car. I was a big fish in a small pond, and I suspected all the small fish wanted to eat me alive. 

But hey, I won a sash.

I went to a feis with 40 people in my open championship. 

I hadn’t slept in a week. I cried in the bathroom. Everyone was watching and I screwed everything up.

I placed in the top fifteen and won a giant trophy. 

I got sick all the time. I couldn’t last the entire day at school. I lived at the doctor’s office.

“No one gives a shit, Annabelle,” so I dragged myself to dance anyway.

I recalled and place 30th at the Southern Region Oireachtas

I can’t do it anymore. I quit. 

Permanently? Temporarily? I hadn’t thought out the specifics, but I was certain I needed to cut myself out of the feis world indefinitely before it swallowed me up. 

Find what you love and let it kill you

Guys. Listen. Listen to me. Don’t be an edge lord. 

I get what this quote is trying to say, but honestly, if you have any inkling that something is *literally* KILLING you, stop. Stand back. Take time off. Assess the situation. Get help. I won’t say that I was suicidal my senior year of high school, because I wasn’t, but dance was most definitely killing me. It began in the training leading up to nationals, but I notice the warning signs because I was too high off my own success to care. I was young enough to still be impressionable and vulnerable, but I sure as hell was old enough that I should have stopped and gotten myself help long before I did. While certainly at the time I was struggling with anxiety stemming from the pressures of competition, the stress of being at a new dance school, and the demands of senior year, I was also dealing with un-diagnosed narcolepsy, which I have to believe exacerbated all of my other problems to a certain extent. 

Anxiety is real, burnout is real, it’s okay to hit reset and start again. (I mean come on, even Lin-Manuel Miranda agrees, so it must be true.) I still believe that no good competitive result is fought without a hard battle. I still believe that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. But I also believe that sometimes you just have to take a break and back yourself right out of a bad situation.

Two Years Later

Things are great.

They’re not perfect, but they’re great.

I didn’t think I’d return to competing until my second year of college, if at all, but I impulsively transferred schools and signed up for the Munsters last fall. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I don’t think I’ve made a better decision in my life. I love my teacher. I hope I can be like him when I grow up.  I love the students. I hope I can raise dancers as kind and as talented as them when I grow up. In short, I hope I can use everything I’ve learned from the good times and the bad times of my competitive career to help students in my own school one day. 

Things aren’t the same though as they were before I let the pressures of competing consume my life. I’m still working on remembering every reason why I love to dance competitively. I’m still working on not being anxious in dance classes. But slowly, it all comes back. I’m not what I was before I became so disillusioned in competing, but I’m working on it. There is plenty good left in this sport, and it’s worth sticking around for.

Today in Black History for September 8th

1981 - Death of Roy Wilkins (80), longtime executive director of the NAACP, in New York.

NAACP leader Roy Wilkins on Face the Nation

NAACP Chairman Roy Wilkins discussed the speed of school integration on the September 7, 1958 edition of Face the Nation. (CBS NEWS)

1965 - Actress Dorothy Danridge (41) died in Hollywood.

Dorothy Dandridge - Documentary

1957 - Tennis champion, Althea Gibson, becomes the first Black athlete to win a US national tennis championship, 1957

American Masters Season 30 Episode 1 Althea

1925 - Ossian Sweet, prominent Detroit doctor, arrested on murder charges after shots were fired into a mob in front of the Sweet home in a previously all-white area. Sweet was defended by Clarence Darrow, who won an acquittal in the second trial.

1911 - Famous Black Astrologer not Psychic!

James Black was one of the first famous Black Astrologer in the early 70’s! He lived in Chicago on the southside. He was born around 1910-1911! He read for clients like “Earth Wind & Fire, Aura Ajayi, a famous psychic and countless more all over the world!He was once featured in Ebony Magazine!

1875 - Protection of Black Voters

Mississippi governor requested federal troops to protect Black voters. Attorney General Edward Pierrepont refused the request and said "the whole public are tired of these annual autumnal outbreaks in the South…”

Today in Black History for February 8th
  1. 1990 - Andey Rooney suspended for racist comments 
    Andy Rooney, a CBS “60 Minutes” commentator, received a 90-day suspension from work because of racist remarks about African Americans attributed to him by Chris Bull, a New York-based reporter for “The Advocate,” a bi-weekly national gay & lesbian news magazine published in Los Angeles. Bull quoted Rooney as having said during an interview: “I’ve believed all along that most people are born with equal intelligence, but Blacks have watered down their genes because the less intelligent ones are the ones that have the children. They drop out of school early, do drugs, and get pregnant.”

  2. 1986 - Figure Skater Debi Thomas wins Woman’s Singles
    Figure skater Debi Thomas became the first African American to win the Women’s Singles of the U.S. National Figure Skating Championship competition, was a pre-med student at Stanford University.

  3. 1986 - Ophrah’s On!
    Oprah Winfrey becomes the first African American woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show.

  4. 1985 - Reporter at Large
    Brenda Renee Pearson an official court reporter for the House of Representatives was the first black female to record the State of the Union message delivered by the president in the House chambers.

  5. 1978 - Leon Spinks defeated Muhammad Ali for heavyweight boxing championship. Ali regained the title on September 15 and became the person to win the title three times.

  6. 1968 - Garey Coleman born
    Diminutive actor Gary Coleman was born in Zion, Illinois. Despite a childhood of medical troubles, Coleman went on to become a television star in numerous situation comedies.

  7. 1968 - Officers killed three students during demonstration on the campus of South Carolina State in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Students were protesting segregation at an Orangeburg bowling alley.

  8. 1944 - Harry S. McAlphin - First African American to accredited to attend White House press conference.

  9. 1925 - Marcus Garvey entered federal prison in Atlanta. Students staged strike at Fisk University to protest policies of white administration.

  10. 1894 - Congress repeals the Enforcement Act which makes it easier for some states to disenfranchise African American voters.

Last night Clemson upset Alabama 35-31 in the American College Football National Championship at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Nearly 75,000 fans were in attendance at the facility which features a replica pirate ship for the city’s professional team, the Buccaneers.

27°58′33″N 82°30′12″W

Source imagery: Nearmap

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Today in Black History- February 8th, 2014

  • On this day in 1990, Andy Rooney suspended for racist comments. Andy Rooney, a CBS “60 Minutes” commentator, received a 90-day suspension from work because of racist remarks about African Americans attributed to him by Chris Bull, a New York-based reporter for “The Advocate,” a bi-weekly national gay & lesbian newsmagazine published in Los Angeles. Bull quoted Rooney as having said during an interview: “I’ve believed all along that most people are born with equal intelligence, but Blacks have watered down their genes because the less intelligent ones are the ones that have the children. They drop out of school early, do drugs, and get pregnant.”

  • On this day in 1996, Figure skater Debi Thomas wins the Women’s Singles. Debra Janine “Debi” Thomas ( is an American figure skater and physician. She is the 1986 World champion, two-time U.S. national champion and 1988 Olympic bronze medalist, having taken part in the Battle of the Carmens at those games.Thomas became the first African American to win the Women’s Singles of the U.S. National Figure Skating Championship competition, was a pre-med student at Stanford University.

  • On this day in 1986, Oprah Winfrey becomes the first African American woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show.Oprah Gail Winfrey  is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her multi-award-winning talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show which was the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. She has been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history,and is currently North America’s only black billionaire. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama and an honorary doctorate degree from Harvard.

  • On this day in 1985, Brenda Renee Pearson an official court reporter for the House of Representatives was the first black female to record the State of the Union message delivered by the president in the House chambers.

  • On this day in 1978, Leon Spinks defeated Muhammad Ali for heavyweight boxing championship. Ali regained the title on September 15 and became the person to win the title three times. Spinks is an American former boxer, who had an overall record of 26 wins, 17 losses and three draws as a professional, with 14 of those wins by knockout. In only his eighth professional bout, Spinks won the undisputed world heavyweight championship when he beat Muhammad Ali on February 15, 1978, in what was considered one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. However, he was stripped of the WBC title for fighting Ali in an unapproved rematch seven months later, which he lost by a 15-round unanimous decision. Besides being heavyweight champion and his characteristic gap-toothed grin (due to losing two and later all four of his front teeth), Spinks gained notoriety for the disaster which befell his career following the loss to Ali.

  • On this day in 1974, Lieutenant-Colonel Aboubakar Sangoulé Lamizana, president of Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), ousted the prime minister, dissolved the parliament and suspended the 1970 constitution. Major General Aboubakar Sangoulé Lamizana was the second president of Upper Volta (since 1984 renamed Burkina Faso), in power from January 3, 1966 to November 25, 1980. He held the additional position of Prime Minister from February 8, 1974 to July 7, 1978.
  • On this day in 1968, Gary Coleman was born in Zion, Illinois. Gary Wayne Coleman was an American actor, known for his childhood role as Arnold Jackson in the American sitcom Diff’rent Strokes (1978–1986) and for his small stature as an adult. He was described in the 1980s as “one of television’s most promising stars”. After a successful childhood acting career, Coleman struggled financially later in life. In 1989, he successfully sued his parents and business advisor over misappropriation of his assets, only to declare bankruptcy a decade later. in 2003, he was a candidate for the California recall election and later on placed 8th out of 135 candidates, receiving 14,242 votes. 

  • On this day in 1968, Officers killed three students during demonstration on the campus of South Carolina State in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Students were protesting segregation at an Orangeburg bowling alley. The Orangeburg massacre is the most common name given to an incident in which nine South Carolina Highway Patrol officers in Orangeburg, South Carolina, fired into a crowd of protesters demonstrating against segregation at a bowling alley near the campus of South Carolina State College, a historically black college. Three men were killed and twenty-eight persons were injured; most victims were shot in the back. One of the injured was a pregnant woman. She had a miscarriage a week later due to her beating by the police. It was the first unrest on a university campus resulting in deaths of protesters in the U.S.The event pre-dated the 1970 Kent State shootings and Jackson State killings, in which the National Guard at Kent State, and police and state highway patrol at Jackson State killed student protesters demonstrating against the United States invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

  • On this day in 1964, Malcolm X founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity. Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little and also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz] (Arabic: الحاجّ مالك الشباز‎), was an African-American Muslim minister and a human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans; detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history. The Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) was a Pan-Africanist organization founded by Malcolm X in 1964. The OAAU was modeled on the Organisation of African Unity, which had impressed Malcolm X during his visit to Africa in April and May 1964. The purpose of the OAAU was to fight for the human rights of African Americans and promote cooperation among Africans and people of African descent in the Americas.

  • On this date in 1944, Harry S. McAlpin was the first African American journalist admitted to a white house press conference.McAlpin covered Presidents Roosevelt and Truman for fifty-one black newspapers. He was also a Navy war correspondent and spokesman for the Department of Agriculture. Later McAlpin practiced law in Louisville, Kentucky, and was president of the local chapter of the NAACP. He died in 1985.

  • On this day in 1925, Marcus Garvey was taken to Atlanta Federal Penitentiary and incarcerated for his conviction of mail fraud. Students staged a strike at Fisk University to protest the policies of the white administration. He was later on deported back to Jamaica from New Orleans after Coolidge commuted his sentence.Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., ONH was a Jamaican political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). He founded the Black Star Line, part of the Back-to-Africa movement, which promoted the return of the African diaspora to their ancestral lands.Prior to the twentieth century, leaders such as Prince Hall, Martin Delany, Edward Wilmot Blyden, and Henry Highland Garnet advocated the involvement of the African diaspora in African affairs. Garvey was unique in advancing a Pan-African philosophy to inspire a global mass movement and economic empowerment focusing on Africa known as Garveyism. Promoted by the UNIA as a movement of African Redemption, Garveyism would eventually inspire others, ranging from the Nation of Islam to the Rastafari movement (which proclaims Garvey as a prophet).Garveyism intended persons of African ancestry in the diaspora to “redeem” the nations of Africa and for the European colonial powers to leave the continent. His essential ideas about Africa were stated in an editorial in the Negro World entitled “African Fundamentalism”, where he wrote: “Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationality… to let us hold together under all climes and in every country”

  • On this day in 1894, Congress repeals the Enforcement Act which makes it easier for some states to disenfranchise African American voters.The Enforcement Acts were three bills passed by the United States Congress between 1870 and 1871. They were criminal codes which protected blacks’ right to vote, to hold office, to serve on juries, and receive equal protection of laws. The laws also allowed the federal government to intervene when states did not act. These acts were passed following the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave full citizenship to anyone born in the United States or freed slaves, and the Fifteenth Amendment, which banned racial discrimination in voting. At the time, the lives of all newly freed slaves, and their political and economic rights were being threatened. This threat led to the creation of the Enforcement Acts.

  • On this day in 1884, Cetshwayo, king of the Zulus, died. Cetshwayo kaMpande was the King of the Zulu Kingdom from 1872 to 1879 and their leader during the Anglo-Zulu War (1879). His name has been transliterated as Cetawayo, Cetewayo, Cetywajo and Ketchwayo. He famously led the Zulu nation to victory against the British in the Battle of Isandlwana.

  • On this day in 1734, Intendant Gilles Hocquart issued an ordinance to curb slave escapes, directing the militia to recover a runaway and imposing fines on those who aided him in New France (now called Quebec). Hocquart was born in 1694, in Sainte-Croix, Mortagne-au-Perche to Jean-Hyacinthe Hocquart. From September, 1729 to August, 1748, Hocquart served as Intendant of New France, this being the longest lasting intendancy contract in the colony’s history. Hocquart put his faith in the Canadian bourgeoisie as the main player in the development of a profitable economy for the colony. Although his ideas were grand, he did not recognize the flaws that were already impeding the economy at a smaller scale. After a few rentable years, New France’s fragile economy began to crumble, and by the end of his contract, Hocquart was held responsible for too many extraodinary expenses. He was called home and replaced by Francois Bigot. Nonetheless, the years between 1737 and 1741 were among the most prosperous in the history of New France.

Tripp Davis and Associates Completes Phase Two Restoration of Spring Lake Golf Club in New Jersey 

Golf course architecture firm Tripp Davis and Associates has now completed the second phase of its renovation and restoration work at the Jersey shore’s historic Spring Lake Golf Club.  Spring Lake originally was designed by George Thomas in 1910, with A.W. Tillinghast coming in to restyle the greens and bunkers in 1918. 

“We are very proud of what we’ve accomplished to date at Spring Lake,” said Davis.  “The intent of the work during the past two years was to restore the classic look of the golf course after a previous bunker renovation went to more of a modern cookie cutter look that had no character.  We paid homage to both George Thomas, the original golf course architect in 1910, and Tillinghast, who did a redesign in 1918.  The bunkers have mostly grass faces that Tillinghast did here, but as a nod to Thomas we created more movement in the sand lines, similar to the style he used at Los Angeles CC and Riviera in California.  Key to the work was moving a few bunkers and a few tees to make the course relevant for the modern game.  We still have some tee work and a little bit of work around and on a few greens in the next few years, but about 90% of our Master Plan is done.”  

“We also want to pay homage to our partners on the project including Mottin Golf and course superintendent Josh Reiger,” Davis said.  “Mottin Golf was the builder and did an excellent job and it was a great pleasure to work with golf course superintendent Josh Reiger.  Josh has probably done the best job I have ever seen growing in the sodded areas around the bunkers, tees and greens to look like they’ve been there awhile and with no scars.”  

According to Spring Lake Golf Club’s Greens Chairman, James Hickey: “The entire membership is extremely pleased with the outcome of Tripp’s renovation of our course.  As a member of the committee who oversaw the project, I was very happy with the outcome and the process.  Tripp, Doug Mottin and their teams were incredibly professional and easy to work with.  The outcome was nothing short of amazing!”