By Jill Fox
Three local gymnasts have accepted positions on Division One Women’s Gymnastics teams.
With only 62 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) schools in the United States, this proves to be quite an accomplishment.
Known for producing high-level gymnasts, American Twisters is the only gym in the area with girls competing at the elite level. Through the years, the Coconut Creek-based program has had over 70 athletes receive athletic scholarships to major universities.
“Achieving a D1 College Commitment is an excellent accomplishment,” said Lynda Miller, whose daughter, Bella, is one of the three Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who will graduate in June 2021.
She said these girls train for six hours a day, six days a week, and have maybe two weeks off a year.
Bella Miller, of North Coral Springs, was 14 when she was recruited to Michigan State University after placing 36 in the country.
“I committed the summer after eighth grade,” she said, “I just felt like I was supposed to be there.”
Miller plans to study business with a minor in finance and is looking forward to the college team experience.
“Club gymnastics is more individual, but once you go to college, it’s a team environment with everyone working towards one goal,” Miller said.
Hannah Kang, 17, of Parkland, will sign with Rutgers University on November 1.
“Academically, I wanted to major in business and marketing, and that was one of my main factors for Rutgers being my first choice,” said Kang, who started competitive gymnastics at age six and always dreamed of competing at a collegiate level.
She was offered a spot over the summer and said she felt a personal connection with Rutgers’ coaches.
“It’s really exciting that I can continue my gymnastics career in college while getting an education at the same time,” said Kang.
Kielyn McCright, who lives in Parkland, said she started her college research in ninth grade and visited ten campuses to see which was a good fit.
She committed to Utah State over the summer and plans on a kinesiology and pre-physical therapy track.
Being in physical therapy herself, she said, “I had this one therapist who inspired me– she was a gymnast, and I want to be able to do that for other young athletes.”
McCright chose Utah State because it felt like home when she was there.
“I love the coaches, and I believe in their program and their goals. I’m so excited to be a part of such an incredible team.”
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.