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Taking the world one routine at a time

Fort Frye teen receives a full ride for gymnastics skills

Carlee Nelson, is a 17-year-old who attends Fort Frye High School.

Nelson plans to attend West Virginia University following graduation on a full athletic scholarship to compete for the WVU gymnastics team. At this time she is undecided on a major, but is excited to further both her academic and athletic career.

Nelson started her career in gymnastics at Gymniks in Vienna when she was only 4 years old. She still learns there today with coaches Nikki Tompson, Liz Nulter and Angela Way.

“I was a very energetic kid and was always doing flips,” she said.

Nelson said that growing up she was involved in other sports and hobbies, but that she decided to focus solely on gymnastics once she was in high school.

“I decided to stick with gymnastics, because of the lifetime bonds created with my teammates and coaches and the love I had for the sport,” she said.

Nelson said her career in gymnastics is no joke, and that she spends a lot of time in the gym each week practicing.

“I practice four hours a day, five days a week to train for my upcoming season that starts in November,” she said.

Nelson also works at Gymniks a few days a week.

“When I go to WVU next fall I will miss my teammates and coaches here, because they have become family to me,” she said.

Nelson has won multiple West Virginia State Championships and Team Awards.

“I have qualified for regions every year, which consists of seven states and have won many medals at Regionals,” she said.

Last spring she was the regional beam champion and qualified for Nationals, where she got a medal for her floor routine.

“It was so much fun to compete at Regionals and Nationals,” she said.

Nationals were held in Daytona Beach, Fla.

“I had so much fun with my family and team, and Nationals was an amazing experience,” she said.

Nelson said she worked really hard in the gym after qualifying for Nationals, so that she could feel confident going into the competition.

“One of the things I enjoy about competing is the feeling of hitting a good routine and cheering on my teammates when they hit a routine,” she said.

According to Nelson, her favorite routine to compete is floor and beam.

“I like practicing vault and bars, and bars are probably the toughest event for me,” she said. “But I enjoy the feeling of being under pressure and then knowing you made a good routine.”

Nelson said she would encourage parents to put their child in gymnastics.

“My family, friends, and community have always supported me, and I am grateful for all the sacrifices my family has made so that I can continue to pursue the sport that I love,” she said.

Nelson said gymnastics has taught her many life lessons and has molded her into the person she is today.

“It has taught me to work hard, because not everything comes easily; to be patient and trust the process, especially when learning new things; it has disciplined me; gave me leadership skills and shown me how to handle being under pressure.”

Nelson said although she has not yet settled on a career path, she will use those life lessons to help guide her through college and beyond.

Madeline Scarborough can be reached at mscarborough@gmail.com

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