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Gymnastics places first at state, advances three Coppell girls to nationals



COPPELL, TX – In the summer of 2020, the Level 10 Elite team for Texas Dreams Gymnastics was removed from its gym for two months because of the pandemic and the girls experienced an incredibly long, disruptive break from their normal four hours a day, six days a week practice schedule.

Returning to the gym proved to be an excruciatingly difficult task for the gymnasts who practiced so rigorously for years but the girls persisted.

And through that hard work and dedication, Texas Dreams was able to place first at the USAG Girls State Meet in Lubbock on March 19-20.

“The difference between all the sports and gymnastics is that [gymnastics is] much more complex, [and] most people don’t have an understanding of how complex it is,” Texas Dreams coach Ned Lang said. “At the level at which these girls are competing, it’s so much more difficult [to come back from a long layoff].”

For team awards, Texas Dreams beat out the likes of a talented WCC squad, the gym from greater Houston that produced Simone Biles, and WOGA in Plano/Frisco for first place. The gymnasts were led by sophomore Morgan Price who placed first in all four of her events (vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise) while her older sister, senior Frankie Price, an Arkansas commit, earned a third overall place. Other placing girls were Coppell juniors Taylor Ingle (5th overall), Vanelda Mode (9th overall) and junior Kati Rice as well as senior Leanne Jojo who both placed 11th.

“Winning state is almost like seeing your family win an award because we are family,” Ingle said. “It’s truly inspiring to see any one of my teammates get out there and perform their best when you get to see all the behind the scenes that they do. I’ve been at this gym for 12 years and A lot of gymnastics is built along stress and being perfect but these girls really bring out the fun and life that gymnastics can bring you and the excitement and thrills that are put into gymnastics.”

Though Texas Dreams always competes at the top of the state group, winning an actual team state title is normally a secondary priority in the gymnasts’ sport, a direct byproduct of the individuality of the sport. Instead, the gymnasts are normally prioritising perfecting their own routine and to get recognition in pursuit of collegiate gymnastic opportunities.

“The team aspect is normally thought of behind what you do by yourself but our gym works really hard on “we’re a team, we’re gonna work together, we’re gonna love each other no matter what happens’,” Ingle said. “None of us really went into state thinking “oh, we’re gonna win” just because we knew that the other gyms were really competitive, so we just put our all out there and came home with the win.”

Gymnasts must score at least a 32 overall to advance to state and girls who scored a 34 overall or a 9.4 on a specific event at the state meet would go on to regionals and the top seven girls at regionals would go on to nationals. Each gymnast starts at a 9.5 for a specific event and from there, points get deducted by judges.

Despite advancing the entire squad to the regional meet in Lubbock on April 15-16, Texas Dreams managed to advance 10 total gymnasts to the Level 10 National Championships, with only Ingle and the Price sisters being the only Coppell High School girls to advance. Younger sister Morgan once again placed first overall after sweeping three of the four events while Ingle placed fifth and Frankie placed sixth.

The regional meet is normally the most important meet for most girls as it is an opportunity for gymnasts to advance to nationals and be in the eye of Division I collegiate scouts.

“Regionals was our big competition that all our stress was based on, all the pressure is on regionals to get into nationals,” Ingle said. “[The pressure] is really how can I perfect these routines, add in upgrades, and really show everything that I’ve got and that I’ve trained for throughout this season without fear.”

In preparation for the Level 10 National Championship, from May 14-16 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Lang emphasizes making the leading practices fun but still encourages hard work to both mentally relax the girls and perfect their routines to help the gymnasts perform to the best of their ability.

“I’ve had this big “this is the last one, make it count” mindset this whole season and I have family coming in [to watch me],” Price said. “I [didn’t go] to nationals in 2018 because I was out for a surgery and then it was canceled [in 2020] so this is a really big moment. This is also why I was so set on making it at regionals. I’m super excited to qualify and go compete. Now the goal is to stay healthy so I can go and finish out my season.”