Hagerstown High School dropped its gymnastics program this year, a move Richmond High School was so close to doing just a few years ago.
Chasity Wampler, now an RHS graduate, pulled together teammates and a coach so the Red Devil program could continue.
That coach, Justine Coblentz-Boggs, returns to RHS for a third year as the Red Devils hope to continue the strong reign of success Wampler helped institute.
Richmond’s 2015 gymnastics season begins today with a scheduled trip to Shelbyville.
“A lot of other schools have been closing their gymnastics program and it’s kind of hard to find a gymnastics coach,” Coblentz-Boggs said.
Coblentz-Boggs returns some experience, both at the varsity and junior high level, plus some newcomers out for gymnastics for the first time.
Tamara Mayberry is the only senior on the Red Devils’ roster, but she is new to the program, Coblentz-Boggs said.
Junior Keara Henderson is also new to the program, as Coblentz-Boggs will work with nine gymnasts.
Juniors Alegra Cruse and Amanda Ripperger are third-year gymnasts and sophomores Markiah Johnson and Teryn Twine are in their second years.
Also on the team are freshmen Camile Golay, Lindsey Griffin and Sammy Hazelbaker.
Coblentz-Boggs pointed to Golay and Griffin as athletes to watch, noting that they will be the only two gymnasts competing in all four events.
Wampler advanced to state in 2012, before being the only returning gymnast and Richmond considered dropping its gymnastics program. However, Wampler recruited Coblentz-Boggs as the program’s coach Wampler returned to state twice, winning the vault state title in 2014.
“It’s really inspired a lot of girls,” Coblentz-Boggs said. “She’s also a club gymnast, so that helps. Everybody is excited and hopefully wanting to fill her shoes.”
Richmond travels to Lincoln Thursday and has home meets scheduled against Muncie Central (Feb. 4) and Morristown (Feb. 19).
The Red Devils travel to Jay County for a three-way meet Feb. 9 that also includes Muncie Central and compete at Connersville Feb. 11 and the Marion Invitational Feb. 21.The North Central Conference meet is Feb. 28 at Lafayette Jeff.
“I think in the past we have had four or five girls,” said Coblentz-Boggs, who has nine gymnasts out this year. “I think it just shows that good things are happening.”
• Today: at Shelbyville
• Thursday: Lincoln
• Feb. 4: Muncie Central
• Feb. 9: at Jay County, vs. Muncie Central
• Feb. 11: at Connersville
• Feb. 19: Morristown
• Feb. 21: at Marion Invitational
• Feb. 28: NCC at Lafayette Jeff
• Mar. 7: Sectional
• Mar. 14: Regional
• Mar. 21: State Finals