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How Wylie High School got its first gymnastics team

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – When you think of sports, you might think of a great team. As a team of just three, Wylie High School (WHS) gymnastics already proves itself. During the first year as a team, these three girls placed in the top three in all local competitions and even won one of these competitions. This puts them in fifth place regionally.

The team includes Chloe McGary, ninth grade, Abby Cribbs, 10th grade, and Lorelei Standley, 12th grade.

Prior to the team’s formation, coach Justin Powers told KTAB/KRBC that he coached the girls for years in club gymnastics at the Gymnastics Sports Center, where he served as head coach for 10 years. So it was an easy transition to coaching Wylie’s gymnastics team.

“I already knew all their strengths and weaknesses in girls, and I knew what they could do very well, and that facilitated the fact that they had known each other for a long time… To build this work of team up with each other,” Powers said. .

Gymnastics is well known for being a very intense sport, and Powers said the transition from club gymnastics to competition at the high school level has been difficult.

“They had a lot to learn about the high school environment,” Powers explained. “It’s very noisy, it’s very favorable… You have to be flexible; you have to be strong, you have to use your arms on the bars, your legs on the ground and when jumping. It’s just very demanding.

Prior to the 2022-23 school year, Wylie did not have a gymnastics team. A sponsor of the WHS gymnastics team, Heather Giles, has several titles in addition to sponsor: Wylie alum, mom and former gymnast. While at WHS, she said she always wished she could compete, but the district was too small at the time.

How Wylie High School got its first gymnastics team
Heather Giles’, Former Abilene Gymnast, Album

“The district has grown tremendously,” Giles said, comparing his and his daughter’s with Wylie ISD. “They’ve gotten bigger, there’s tons of sports and extracurricular activities.”

Wanting his 5th grader to have this experience, Giles went to the school board to pitch the idea last year:

“[I] I just came up with the idea and said, ‘you know, we have talented girls, and we have Wylie kids who have played in super bowls, and why can’t we have Wylie kids who have been able to compete as bulldogs who might compete at the college or Olympic level one day? »

Jana McGary is Chloe’s mother and a teacher at Wylie Junior High. She, alongside Giles, helped establish the program. As sports sponsor of Wylie Gymnastics, McGary said the team is feeling the pressure.

“There were three and you always take the top three scores from a team, so all the girls’ scores counted every time, and they were playing teams that had 12 to 15 girls,” McGary explained.

The team finished in the top three in all competitions except regional and state. They won first place in the Odessa meeting.

“When we heard (their names), [we] everyone looked at each other and just screamed because it was super exciting,” said Wylie sophomore and gymnast Abby.

As the third on Wylie’s first gymnastics team, Chloe said she was honored to have the title: “It was really exciting to know that I would be one of the original people on the team because I’ve seen older girls do it in different schools. Now that I have young people at Wylie watching me do it, it’s really exciting.

As the only senior on the team, Lorelei told KTAB/KRBC that she was honored to have the opportunity to grow as an athlete.

“It was really cool and fun,” Lorelei said. “It was cool to be able to do more gymnastics. When we won it was exciting.

All three girls said that thanks to Powers’ coaching, they were able to do things they never thought possible. Powers said he expects the team to grow significantly next school year, but these girls will always hold a special place in his heart.

“We are so thrilled with the support Wylie High School and all of the teachers and administrators have given us for our freshman year,” Powers added. “We’re excited to move forward with this.”


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