High-flying Jessica to come on leaps and bounds at Spalding trampoline club

HEAD FOR HEIGHTS: Jessica Ringsell with her haul of medals and trophies from a host of competitions representing Abbey High Fliers Trampoline Club.
HEAD FOR HEIGHTS: Jessica Ringsell with her haul of medals and trophies from a host of competitions representing Abbey High Fliers Trampoline Club.
  • New Year 7 student with a head for heights to be a “real asset” at Spalding High School

Spalding trampoline queen Jessica Ringsell (11) would have paid more attention than most to Team GB’s Bryony Page winning an historic silver medal at the Rio Olympics.

But the former Spalding Primary School pupil will be determined to make sure that her country won’t have to wait long for its next trampoline medallist after the sport was introduced into the Olympic programme in 2000.

Jessica ended the season with double success from Spalding’s Abbey High Fliers Trampoline Club, having been named both club champion for setting the high score in Abbey High Fliers’ championship and trampolinist of the year.

“One of the reasons given for me winning the trampolinist of the year award was that when I’m up against competitors that I know I’ll struggle to beat, or can’t beat, then my attitude is ‘good, I want to know how I compare with the best’,” said Jessica.

“That’s exactly how I think because even though I don’t like it when I lose, I do accept it.

“If I’ve done a routine well that I know I can do then I’m happy with it.

TEAM AIRBORNE: Jessica Ringsell (second right) with (from left) Alice Banks, Jessica Jacob, Samuel Archer and Chelsea Cooper-Ellis.

TEAM AIRBORNE: Jessica Ringsell (second right) with (from left) Alice Banks, Jessica Jacob, Samuel Archer and Chelsea Cooper-Ellis.

“But I love getting a trophy or medal, even if I’m disappointed when I go wrong on the trampoline.”

Most of those trophies and medals have been paraded at Spalding Primary School where Jessica was a pupil up until July.

Nathan Shortland, her former teacher at Spalding Primary School, said: “We’ve seen the achievements that Jessica has under her belt and think ‘wow, how has she managed to do that?’

“Jessica was recognised in 2014 as the Spalding Primary school Sportsperson of the Year.

When I’m up against competitors that I know I’ll struggle to beat, or can’t beat, then my attitude is ‘good, I want to know how I compare with the best’

Jessica Ringsell, Abbey High Fliers Trampoline Club and Spalding High School

“But since then, she has won a flood of medals and it’s been amazing to see the confidence and enthusiasm she has gained in such a short time.

“Spalding Primary School is very much about celebrating the achievements of the children, no matter how small they may feel they are, and through Jessica Ringsell we have done so.

“She’s appeared regularly in the school newspaper and assemblies, something we’ve done for a number of our children.”

“Jessica is unique and I’ve never come across someone so talented in one sport as she is in trampolining.”

There is a case for saying that Jessica was born into trampolining, with parents Andrew and Kirsty both judges, coaches and founders of Abbey High Fliers.

Kirsty said: “When Jessica was in my tummy, she was bouncing up and down.

“But as parents, we have to balance things by giving Jessica the chance to make her own decisions.

“Her older brother Corey got to a good level (winning the under-15 boys novice title at East Midlands Schools Trampoline Competition in 2012), and then discovered drama.

“But Jessica is on the National League circuit now, the top level in the country, and in her first competition of the year, Jessica got a silver medal in the 11-12 age group.

“She’s worked hard to get her time of flight in the air higher and longer while her level of difficulty is the highest in the group.”

Mr Shortland said: “Trampolining is an unusual sport to gain recognition in, especially at Spalding Primary School.

“Normally, you think of football and gymnastics but during our assemblies, Jessica has opened so many eyes to trampolining and there’s been a great increase of interest from some of the girls.

“Quite often, you see them huddled together at lunchtimes and they’ve formed life-long friendships with each other.

Competitions lying ahead include the National Schools Finals in December, regional and county championships, along with National League finals at the Olympic Velodrome in London at the end of November.

Before that is a workshop with Olympian Kat Driscoll in Lincoln on September 2 and 3.

Kirsty said: “As her parents, Andy and I find it difficult to play the parents and coach roles.

“Jessica is at a big disadvantage with us being both her parents and coaches, so we weren’t expecting her to get a silver medal in her first National Trampoline League competition.

“So she’s more competitive now and her routines have gone up in difficulty, with Jessica now working on her double-front and double-back somersaults, along with her one and three-quarter somersault.

“When she was at Spalding Primary School, she couldn’t to come in and tell her teachers when she’s done a competitions.

“The teachers made her feel like the most important child at the school.”

It will be interesting to see if Jessica’s trampoliing talents are recognised as much when she starts lessons at Spalding High School next month.

There she will be amongst good sporting company, including cyclists Tilly Gurney and Jess Woodworth, rowing sisters Ruby and Jasmine Latka, golfer Tilly Garfoot and the current holder of the Lincolnshire Free Press/Spalding Guardian Outstanding Sporting Achievement Award, taekwondo player Megan Hartfil-Allgood.

Mr Shortland said: “This was Jessica’s last year at Spalding Primary school and she goes on to secondary school.

“They are gaining a real asset and I hope it will be like Spalding Primary School, a very strong school for recognising sport.

“We recognise that as much as academic achievement is important, sporting achievement is important as well as it’s a chance for pupils to gain self-esteem and self-importance, both of which we really value as a school.

Jessica said: “Spalding Primary School was much more supportive than my previous primary school and they helped me all the time, in whatever I did.

“I felt like it mattered to them, even when I told them that I’d put trampolining before anything else.

“That’s because they saw how it helps me to focus on my school work.

“One example was when I did the 11-Plus because even though it was nerve-wracking, I did it find easier than I expected it to be.

“Spalding High School is going to be bigger than Spalding Primary School and I’ll have different classes and different friends.”

Kirsty added: “We didn’t push Jessica for the 11-Plus and it didn’t really affect her with the training.

“The acamedic skills she has helps her with the training and I know that she’ll get her school work done, alongside her trampolining.”

Trampolining has taken Jessica to Portugal and Denmark, which she described as “hot” and a “fantastic experience”, and helped her make friends with fellow Abbey High Fliers Chelsea Cooper-Ellis and Alice Banks.

Jessica said: “When I first started trampolining, I used to play around until I came second in my first competition when I was five or six.

“Winning the Club Champion prize this year was one of the highlights of my life so far because it’s what everyone wants to win.

“Looking at the names on the trophy from previous years, I feel honoured that my name will now be on that trophy.”

“I like competing, doing the harder moves and I’d put trampolining before anything else so I’ll continue doing it for as long as I can.”

Ringing in Jessica’s ears will be the words of Bryony Page after winning her Olympic silver medal in Rio.

Bryony said: “When i finished my routine, I was just so happy that it was the best that I could do.

“But when I found out that I got the silver medal, I just collapsed.”

According to Kirsty, her daughter is made of similar steel to Bryony and her Team GB colleague in Brazil, Kat Driscoll.

“We’ve made history in trampolining this year, with Bryony, Kat and Nathan Bailey qualifying for the Olympics.

“Nothing phases Jessica and she’ll never say ‘I can’t do it’.

“She has the highest difficulty, in terms of routines, of anyone at Abbey High Fliers and she never says ‘No’ to something.

“Instead, she’ll give it her all.”

Jessica said: “You don’t hear about trampolining very often, but it’s actually a very fun sport and even if you don’t want to compete, it’s fun.

“But I like competing and doing the harder moves, so I think that I’ll carry on with trampolining for as long as I can.”