You read that correctly. Wylie has a high school gymnastics team, and in its inaugural year had one of its gymnasts score the highest all-around score at State of any gymnast from Abilene in the last 10 years. Freshman Chloe McGary scored a 69.9 placing her 48th in the state out of 114 gymnasts at the State Meet held in College Station, Texas on April 28-29.
“There is a lot of talent and ability,” said Coach Justin Powers.
Powers, who graduated from Wylie in 2009, believes his gymnasts have potential to continue qualifying for State in the next few years. This year’s team of only three – Abby Cribbs, Cloe McGary and Lorelei Standley – marked the first year with a strong showing. According to Wylie ISD, the team placed third in the district and placed fifth regionally. The gymnasts consistently placed within the top 10 for all-around throughout the season with a couple exceptions.
Powers has coached the trio for more than six years in club gymnastics at the Gymnastics Sports Center (GSC), where he has been head coach for the past 10 years. He brings with him 16 years of coaching experience overall.
Chloe’s mother Jana McGary, who along with Wylie parent Heather Giles helped establish the gymnastics program, said there is a need for Wylie to offer the opportunity to compete at the high school level. “Abilene has a lot of gymnasts,” said McGary. “Cooper High School and Abilene High have had gymnastics teams for years.”
Giles, also a Wylie graduate, experienced what it was like to be a gymnast and not have the opportunity to compete for Wylie. “I was in competitive gymnastics as a kid…14 plus hours a week in the gym leaves little to no time to learn other sports. I got to seventh grade and wanted to do sports with my friends, but gymnastics wasn’t a choice.”
Giles said she knew other girls at Wylie who were in the same situation. Now, her daughter Charlee, a fifth grader at Wylie West Junior High and a competitive gymnast, will have the opportunity to compete as a Wylie Bulldog.
Powers said he would have liked to compete for Wylie as well and is thankful to be a part of the new program now. He expects the team will at least double in size for the 2023-24 school year. The program is currently open to Wylie students in 9-12 grades and does not require students to be competitive gymnasts.
“There are levels that range from basic to senior, and gymnasts can select to compete in the events in which they excel or feel comfortable doing,” said McGary. “The competition season is in the spring, and practices are currently 6-8 hours a week in the evenings at GSC throughout the school year.”
All involved were pleased with the success this year. Giles said she is excited to see the growth and development of the program. “WHS gymnastics is going to be a force to be reckoned with as it grows and flourishes.”
For more details about the WHS gymnastics program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.