Category Archives: college

Kiera Brown Dismissed From Georgia, Due to Violation of Team Rules

We’re hearing reports that University of Georgia gymnast and Newport News resident, Kiera Brown has been dismissed from the Georgia Gym Dogs team for the 2016 season. The 20 year old, who trained at World Class Gymnastics throughout her club career, provided strength on all fourteen bars lineups last year and factored into the beam lineup nine times and floor lineup eight times. In addition, she bagged a career high on bars of 9.950 against Utah.

So, how did this come about? Well, allegedly, Brown has been dismissed from the Georgia Gym Dogs team due to violations of team rules, as told by Communications Director, Ben Beaty. Whether Kiera is continuing her education at UGA remains to be seen.

The 2016 roster features all of last year’s team members including three incoming freshmen; Caroline Bradford of Prairieville, La. (Cypress Pointe), Gracie Cherrey of Woodbury, Minn. (TCT) and Sydney Snead of Raleigh, N.C. (Sonshine). Georgia seems to be set for another great year, despite this upsetting loss!

Amendment: Brown has transferred to University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa., however she is not listed on the 2015-16 team roster!

College: Ramler to Minnesota for the 2017-18 season

U.S. elite, Lexy Ramler, who lives in St. Michael, Minn., has recently committed to the Minnesota Golden Gophers gymnastics team for the 2017-18 season. She trains at KidSport Gymnastics in Winona, Minn. which has recently been rebuilt due to a fire that struck in the September of 2014. Ramler is likely to compete during the U.S. elite season this year and will vy for a spot on the U.S. National team.

Go Gophers!

An article by James Greaves, editor-in-chief

Photo credits to Brian Freed

Jenny Rowland to serve as Florida’s New Head Coach

Auburn assistant coach and former elite gymnast, Jenny Rowland, will serve as Florida Gators’ new Head coach. The Arizona State alumni, who has been with Auburn since 2010, has a huge task ahead of her as the Gators are the reigning NCAA Champions, and have been since 2013.

Former head coach, Rhonda Faehn, has recently taken a role as Senior Vice President at USA Gymnastics, as previously publicised.

An article by James Greaves, editor-in-chief


College: Shchennikova to Michigan for the 2016-17 season

Senior elite gymnast, Polina Shchennikova, has committed to the Michigan Wolverines gymnastics team for the 2016-17 season.

The Russian-American gymnast, who lives in Arvada, Colorado and trains under the tutelage of her parents; Katya and Alex, has vast elite experience under her belt as a Junior but was unable to make her Senior debut last year because she was nursing various injuries. Shchennikova will return for the 2015 elite season as a Senior and is aiming for Rio.

Congratulations Polina!

Tabitha Yim to serve as Arizona Wildcats’ New Head Coach

Stanford team member and former elite gymnast, Tabitha Yim, has been named as the Arizona Wildcats women’s gymnastics Head Coach, following the retirement of former head coach and successor, Bill Ryden.

The news was announced earlier today through the Arizona Wildcats official website. The 29 year old has said “I’m excited to join the Arizona family and am looking forward to building off of the tradition of success that Coach Gault and Coach Ryden started here. I am passionate about creating a legacy that the program, university, and community can be proud of – not only because of the student-athletes’ success in the gym, but also because of their integrity and heart in all aspects of their life. I will forever remain thankful for the support of Kristen Smyth, Chris Swircek, and the Stanford staff, and I’m grateful to Greg Byrne and the Arizona staff for entrusting me with taking the program to the next level.”

Personally, I cannot wait to see Yim take over the Wildcats team!

Read the full article here

College: Dean to LSU for the 2017-18 season

Orlando Metro gymnast and former elite, Bridget Dean, has committed to the LSU Lady Tigers gymnastics team for the 2017-18 season.

The Fort Myers resident, who is currently homeschooled, will join the Tigers for the 2018 season. Dean had previously committed to the University of Kentucky Wildcats in November 2014 but has since changed. Orlando Metro teammate, Bailey Ferrer, recently committed to the Tigers in March for the 2019-20 season.

Dean announced her commitment via Instagram

Geaux Tigers!

An article by James Greaves, editor-in-chief

Photo credits to USA Gymnastics

So, You Think You Can Get A College Scholarship?

Wahoo, it’s the first Chatty Gymnast post!

So, college gymnastics season drew to a close last month and it was the Florida Gators who were victorious during this very impressive season. We love to watch the impressive hair/leotards, big skills and whole team atmosphere of the sport but we sometimes forget how to get to this place, as a gymnast. For a young gymnast, the college gymnastics world is very cutthroat and sometimes it can seem like you have no chance in making the elusive team that you’ve supported for years.

This article is not to scare prospective college gymnasts but merely, to point them in the right direction and give them confidence and goals and some guidance as to what college gymnastics life will be like. If you believe, anything is possible.

  1. Academics mean more than gymnastics skills

You may be the next Gabby Douglas or Nastia Liukin, sure, any team would want you for their roster but you have to remember that you’re actually attending the school! Whoops. Decipher the schools you believe cater for your academic capabilities as well as your academic needs; i.e. how good the program for your future degree is. For instance, 3.0 GPA will not cut it for an Ivy League program. Know yourself and know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t give up if your dream school is a little trickier to get into; just put the work in and set goals for yourself in school.

  1. Be loud and proud; Get your name out there!

A college coach is not going to know who you are unless you make the effort to get in contact. Search the e-mails of head coaches of the program’s you’re considering and just tell them about yourself, gymnastics skills and link them to your personal website and social media links (if you want, obviously!). Nine times out of ten, you’ll get a response and hopefully, they’ll want to stay in contact. Persistence is good but don’t e-mail them every other day; desperation is never a good look!

  1. A personal website is vital!

A personal website is a key component in the recruitment process. Of course, you can be recruited without one but the website will help you keep track of both your gymnastics and academic achievements. Be sure to include the following;

  • Personal information (DOB, Hometown, siblings etc.)
  • Parents names
  • Home phone number
  • Your and/or your coaches e-mail address
  • School name, principal name, current grade, GPA, academic achievements etc.
  • Gymnastics results
  • Club, coaches (and their contact)

Your website doesn’t need to be a hip-hop, trendy graphic design or have a personal domain; a simple website with basic design is sufficient enough. Make it true to yourself. A website will absolutely increase your chances of college recruitment.

  1. Don’t be disheartened from rejection

No matter how hard you try, not everyone can be awarded a scholarship to a single team. A team rejects you, so what? You’ve still got 81 more to choose from. It can be disappointing but you have to walk away knowing that school obviously was not right for you. You can do it!

  1. Know you’re probably not going to be in the line-up on every event, every week!

There are 10-17 gymnasts on a single college team and there are only 6 spots in the line-up on each event. As there are so many team members and so few line-up spots, the chances of you doing all-around each week are rather unlikely, however, not impossible. The coach’s intent will be to try and give each gymnast adequate performance time but sometimes it is not possible. Don’t go into college believing you will do every single event, every single week; you have to work your way up the team and eventually, you may achieve this.

  1. Specialise on the events you feel are your strongest and most valuable

Linking to my previous point, it is ludicrous believing you will do all-around each week, immediately. It definitely pays to drop down to 2 or 3 events, or even just 1. Prior to your entry to college, work on your best events in the gym. Make them polished and strong and routines you feel would make it to a college team. Upon arrival at college, your college coach will immediately see the flair and grounding you bring to the team on that particular event and will be sure to draft you in! It makes much more sense to be drafted into the team’s line-up week in, week out on your specialised events than yo-yo in your work load each week, competing all-around one week and just one event the next.

  1. Know that Division II is just as good as the top flight

In the recruitment process, gymnasts and their parents are often reluctant about Division II programs and often don’t dare to even search for further information on these programs, believing their child is ‘better than Div. II’. Cringe. This couldn’t be any further from the truth when put into practice as, in recent years; we’ve seen Div. II teams become crowned victorious over teams from the top division. Prime examples include Bridgeport and Lindenwood; both of whom have been ranked over various Div. I teams during the 2015 season. This ‘snobbery’ approach towards Division II is simply blown out of proportion by some gymnastics moms. The bottom line is: choose a program that suits you, regardless of whether it is Division I, II or III.

  1. J.O. Nationals is a must!

J.O. Nationals is the National Championships for Level 10 gymnasts; the level which many future college gymnasts compete in during club gymnastics. A J.O. Nationals participation is an absolute must for the top Div. I schools who are probably expecting multiple J.O. Nationals participations in your resume. Consistently good performances at J.O. Nationals each year will punch you a ticket onto a strong college team.

  1. Know that the college gymnastics season is a long, hard slog

Competing each week as well as balancing practice in-between can be a daunting task on the body. Although regular season lasts for three months, that is 12 weeks of intense competition as well as returning for Conference, Regional & National Championships, if invited. Make sure you stay healthy and seek medical attention if you’re hurting or aching.

  1. Be prepared to step in!

A teammate can go down with injury at any minute and you could be their replacement. Make sure you’re on hand and you’re on your a-game at all times during a meet because who knows you may need to step in and become a hero!

  1. International gymnasts have just as much chance of earning scholarships

Competition for college scholarships is fierce enough for U.S. gymnasts alone, without adding international gymnasts into the mix. However, we have not seen a shortage of international students in college gymnastics in recent years with team members from countries like Canada, England, Australia, Spain and Holland being represented in the sport. International gymnasts bring international competitive experience to the team and are arguably more experienced. The world’s your oyster!

  1. A walk-on position is better than no position

Many gymnasts don’t consider competing as a walk-on for a team because you aren’t ‘officially’ a member. A full-ride scholarship naturally brings its perks of paying for academic and housing costs etc. but you should certainly consider a walk-on spot if you’re attending your dream school (for academics). A walk-on spot can lead to bigger things; a full-ride scholarship. It has been done, most notably by UCLA’s Ariana Berlin.

  1. What you put in is what you’ll get out!

This purely means; if you’re lazy about your approach to college recruiters and don’t put the effort in, you’re college chances are certainly going south. If you put in the effort by working hard at school, working hard in the gym, doing extracurricular activities, contacting and visiting various schools then you’re going to get the scholarship you deserve!

To summarise, I want to wish all prospective college gymnasts good luck in their pathway into collegiate student-athlete life; you can create your future and it’s your life, so start living it! Wow, word count is 1300+. Ooh, I have been busy!

An article by James Greaves, Editor-in-chief

Photo credits: The GymShark (website) – Gymnast photographed: Alina Weinstein

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