But as amazing as he was to watch, he offered kudos to teammate Mike Fry, a senior at Oberlin College who is in Tanzania teaching jump roping to schoolchildren.

Everybody jump

Coed team has strength, stamina and imagination as members practice routines, compete for trophies

The music blasted from the boom box while a group of kids did handstands. That might not seem too unusual, until you realize they were also jumping rope.

Watching the Heartbeats, a local coed team of elementary through college students, is exhilarating.

These athletes are known worldwide for their talent. The jumpers perform and compete regionally, nationally and internationally. The team and individual jumpers have won trophies and gold, silver and bronze medals at the World Jump Rope Championships in Korea, Australia, Belgium, Canada and South Africa.

One of the things that sets superior jump ropers like the Heartbeats apart from playground jumpers is their strength and stamina. Imagine jumping rope without stopping for an hour and a half. That’s what happened in November, when the older kids in the group jumped in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Coach Pam Evans explained that when the kids stopped to catch their breath along the parade route, the crowd began shouting, ”Jump! Jump!”

Not wanting to disappoint their fans, and on adrenaline highs, the Heartbeats continued to hop.

Evans got involved with jump roping about a dozen years ago, when her son was in fourth grade. She can still jump, even doing a double under — meaning the jump rope has to go under the feet twice in one leap. But, the middle-aged woman admits, ”it isn’t pretty” and she would prefer to do that kind of thing behind closed doors.

The respect was evident between the team and its coach,
who says she’s witnessed the skill level among jumpers rise over the years.

”The kids are so creative that they could take something that was a high-level trick 12 years ago and change it to make it even more difficult,” Evans said, a group of girls behind her, their jump ropes clicking on the floor and their ponytails bouncing with each leap.

They’ve learned their most complicated routines and tricks from each other, and by keeping a close eye on their competition.

Combining power moves — like those in gymnastics or in break dancing — with speed, Robbie Csontos earned second place last year in the singles category at the world competition in Africa.

At 18, the Revere High School senior has been jumping rope for half his life.

”I like the traveling and bonding with people,” he said, adding that while the vigorous exercise allows him to eat whatever he wants and still keep in shape, he tries to stay away from junk food.

As he practiced at the Pinnacle Sports Complex in Granger Township, the rope moved so swiftly, it seemed to disappear.

Like a hovering bumblebee, Csontos appeared to be suspended in the air, except for the times he fell to the floor and flipped the rope beneath his horizontal body.

But as amazing as he was to watch, he offered kudos to teammate Mike Fry, a senior at Oberlin College who is in Tanzania teaching jump roping to schoolchildren.

Fry can hop more than 300 jumps a minute.

While Csontos stopped practicing long enough to chat, his teammates continued to rehearse. Some, divided into groups of three, grimaced as they jumped, trying to keep pace with the turners, who were twirling a pair of ropes as fast as possible.

While plastic ropes are used in most routines, wire ones are used for speed. And, yes, according to 17-year-old Tania Terpylak of Akron, they can leave welts and draw blood.

But that’s all part of the sport.

”I love jumping rope,” Terpylak said. ”It’s really good conditioning.”

And that, folks, is an understatement.


Kim Hone-McMahan can be reached at 330-996-3742 or kmcmahan@thebeaconjournal.com.

The music blasted from the boom box while a group of kids did handstands. That might not seem too unusual, until you realize they were also jumping rope.

Watching the Heartbeats, a local coed team of elementary through college students, is exhilarating.

These athletes are known worldwide for their talent. The jumpers perform and compete regionally, nationally and internationally. The team and individual jumpers have won trophies and gold, silver and bronze medals at the World Jump Rope Championships in Korea, Australia, Belgium, Canada and South Africa.

One of the things that sets superior jump ropers like the Heartbeats apart from playground jumpers is their strength and stamina. Imagine jumping rope without stopping for an hour and a half. That’s what happened in November, when the older kids in the group jumped in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Coach Pam Evans explained that when the kids stopped to catch their breath along the parade route, the crowd began shouting, ”Jump! Jump!”

Not wanting to disappoint their fans, and on adrenaline highs, the Heartbeats continued to hop.

Evans got involved with jump roping about a dozen years ago, when her son was in fourth grade. She can still jump, even doing a double under — meaning the jump rope has to go under the feet twice in one leap. But, the middle-aged woman admits, ”it isn’t pretty” and she would prefer to do that kind of thing behind closed doors.

The respect was evident between the team and its coach,
who says she’s witnessed the skill level among jumpers rise over the years.

”The kids are so creative that they could take something that was a high-level trick 12 years ago and change it to make it even more difficult,” Evans said, a group of girls behind her, their jump ropes clicking on the floor and their ponytails bouncing with each leap.

They’ve learned their most complicated routines and tricks from each other, and by keeping a close eye on their competition.

Combining power moves — like those in gymnastics or in break dancing — with speed, Robbie Csontos earned second place last year in the singles category at the world competition in Africa.

At 18, the Revere High School senior has been jumping rope for half his life.

”I like the traveling and bonding with people,” he said, adding that while the vigorous exercise allows him to eat whatever he wants and still keep in shape, he tries to stay away from junk food.

As he practiced at the Pinnacle Sports Complex in Granger Township, the rope moved so swiftly, it seemed to disappear.

Like a hovering bumblebee, Csontos appeared to be suspended in the air, except for the times he fell to the floor and flipped the rope beneath his horizontal body.

But as amazing as he was to watch, he offered kudos to teammate Mike Fry, a senior at Oberlin College who is in Tanzania teaching jump roping to schoolchildren.

Fry can hop more than 300 jumps a minute.

While Csontos stopped practicing long enough to chat, his teammates continued to rehearse. Some, divided into groups of three, grimaced as they jumped, trying to keep pace with the turners, who were twirling a pair of ropes as fast as possible.

While plastic ropes are used in most routines, wire ones are used for speed. And, yes, according to 17-year-old Tania Terpylak of Akron, they can leave welts and draw blood.

But that’s all part of the sport.

”I love jumping rope,” Terpylak said. ”It’s really good conditioning.”

And that, folks, is an understatement.

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