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Osorias enjoy giving Ceres acrogymnasts competitive edge
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Ron and Susan Osoria have been married for 21 years. They've owned and operated a non-profit organization in Ceres for the past 10 years.

"June 5, 1995 is when we opened our doors," Ron said.

Added Susan: "We decided to take a chance."

The Ceres AcroGymnastics team has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success during its eight years of competing. Ceres' athletes have collected hundreds of awards at the state, regional and national levels. About 97 trophies and plaques are stored in a trophy cabinet, which stands eight feet high and 15 feet wide, inside the team's practice facility on Rockefeller Drive off Whitmore Avenue.

"We're kind of quiet about stuff like that," Susan said.

Said Ron: "We've done really well over the years. It's hugely fulfilling."

It costs around $30,000 to operate the club each year. The team raises money by hosting competitions and Monte Carlo Night.

"All of the money goes right back to the athletes," Ron said. "It helps with competition fees, uniforms and traveling expenses."

The 2004-05 squad features 25 athletes. They train 12 hours a week.

In past years, Ceres had more than 400 athletes. That changed after Ron, Susan and their coaching staff attended a USA Gymnastics annual meeting and trade show at the Sacramento Convention Center in December of 1997.

"We wanted to focus on those athletes that were more dedicated and put out that strong work ethic," Ron said.

Added Susan: "The first two years were recreational gymnastics. We want to break into the international competitive scene. I see that happening in two years."

The Osorias plan to hand over their club to their children in the future.

Stephanie, a Central Valley High freshman to be, and Kimberly, a 2005 Ceres High graduate, have been competing for eight and seven years, respectively. This season, Kimberly did choreography for 23 routines.

"I would love for both of my daughters to take over the program," Ron said.

Added Susan: "As long as there's an interest, we're going to keep our doors open."

Acrobatic Gymnastics includes five disciplines: women's pair, women's trio, men's pair, men's fours and mixed pairs. Routines include dance, tumbling and acrobatic elements. There are two components to the sport, including balance and tempo. Balance is when human pyramids are formed. Tempo involves flight, such as when the smallest member (top) is tossed into the air by his or her base(s). Athletes transition from one skill to the next with tumbling runs and choreographed dance movements, which add a feeling of fluidity and grace. The groups are judged on execution, difficulty and artistry. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier