Wednesday was just a practice day at the state gymnastics meet in Alvin, but there was plenty of buzz anyway.
San Angelo Central coach girls coach Tony Walker has opted to enter German foreign exchange student Julia Hansen in the state meet. Hansen had been held out of competition at the district and regional level because of concerns about her status as an international elite-level gymnast.
Hansen competed in the Eurpopean championships prior to the 2008 Olympics and would have made the Olympic team had she been old enough.
Gymnastics is not a UIL sport but follows UIL rules. Some coaches, including Lake Highlands’ Addi Ledford, believe that Hansen would not be eligible under UIL rules because of her elite status. According to this story (scroll to the bottom for the Hansen item), apparently Hansen has been cleared to compete for the state meet.
San Angelo Central has won the last four girls state titles, and the suspicion is that Central coach Tony Walker decided to enter Hansen after seeing that Lake Highlands scored higher at the regional level, 232.375 at the Region I meet to Central’s 232.300 at the Region III meet.
"We had a true, valid, honest competition going into this meet, but the unsavoriness of the San Angelo leadership and their shenanigans has placed a cloud over these events," LH coach Ledford said. "Honest competition is exciting and what we all work for, but to work all year and have this happen is discouraging and disheartening. We will keep our chins up and compete with pride."
Compulsory events begin today at Alvin High School with optionals on Friday and event finals on Saturday.