DANIEL Stocks only took up tumbling last year. Now he's the Australian under 17 short track champion.
The 15-year-old Wingham High School student clinched the title at the Australian Gymnastic championships held at Melbourne.
He was a member of the NSW team, having gained a place in the side following trials held in Sydney.
Daniel, a member of the Taree Gymaroos, admits nerves were almost his undoing in the warm-up for the national event.
"I was really nervous before we started,'' he said.
However, the nerves evaporated once the real stuff got underway.
Daniel made a strong start in the first two runs, scoring 9.5 out of 10 in his first and 9.1 in the second. The top five point scorers then moved into the final.
Nerves weren't a problem by then. Daniel knew he was a chance of taking the trophy home when his final landing was perfect.
"Yeah, I was a bit confident by then. It was a great feeling to get a perfect landing.''
In the final wash up Daniel won by five points.
He's the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana. Taree Gymaroos nominated him.
Daniel's a long term member of the Gymaroos and along with fellow Gymaroo Ivan Jarvis was re introduced to tumbling following a visit by Danish coaches last year. Ivan was injured at the nationals.
Both showed immediate aptitude.
Daniel trains with the Gymaroos at the Taree PCYC twice a week while he devotes an extra session to tumbling. However, he increases this to three or four leading into a competition.
He'll have his next competition outing in the up-coming Country titles to be held in Sydney soon.
No Australian side was named following the national championships but Daniel hopes this will change next year.
He will face a busy 2015 as he'll have to defend his under 17 title while he'll also be heading to Denmark and Finland with the Gymaroos.
However, he doesn't spend all his time in the gymnasium. Daniel also plays in the second row for Wingham under 16s rugby league team.