Gymnastics Inks Three to 2013 Class

June 7, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The University of Kentucky gymnastics team has added three gymnasts to its 2013 freshman class, singing Jillian Chappel (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.), Racquel Chavez (Houston) and Amy Roemmele (White Lake, Mich.) to National Letters of Intent, head coach Tim Garrison announced Thursday. All three gymnasts have reported to campus and will participate in summer workouts.

“We are very excited about this class and even more excited that they are here early to get a feel for things,” said Garrison, who is entering his second season with the program. “Our staff did a great job of locating some talented gymnasts that we feel can help our team. We had great success with our freshmen last season and are looking forward to the same type of contributions from this class as well.”

Chappel comes to Kentucky from New Smyrna Beach, Fla., where she was a standout performer for ACE Gymnastics. Chappel most recently competed in the 2012 Florida Prep Optional State Meet, where she finished tied for second on vault, fifth on balance beam, fifth on floor exercise, sixth on uneven bars and fourth overall in the all-around. Chappel finished in the top five on vault, balance beam and floor exercise in several meets in 2012, while she finished tied for 20th overall and 14th on balance beam at the 2011 Junior Olympic National Championships. The gymnast holds many titles, including the Level 10 Florida State Vault, Floor Exercise and All-Around Championship and is a three-time Level 10 national qualifier.

“We are looking for Jillian to bring a power component to our floor and vault lineups that was missing last year,” Garrison said. “She is the athlete that people will come to see if they like high flying gymnastics.”

Chavez is coming off an impressive 17th-place all-around finish at the Junior Olympic Nationals earlier this season also finishing ninth on balance beam in the Senior C division. The native of Houston comes to Kentucky from Stars Gymnastics where she was a Level 10 standout. Chavez had a great meet at the 2012 Lady Luck Invitational finishing fourth in the all-around competition and first on balance beam. The gymnast was also a Level 10 national qualifier, finishing first on vault, uneven bars, balance beam and in the all-around at the qualifying event. Chavez is the 2012 Texas State Balance Beam Champion also finishing tied for second on floor exercise and third in the all-around at the state championships.

“Racquel has many great qualities, but what will stand out to our fans is her artistry on floor and beam,” Garrison said. “She takes great pride in her performance and I expect her to quickly become a crowd favorite.”

Roemmele joins the squad from Oakland Gymnastics where she had a successful club career as a Junior Olympic National Uneven Bar Champion in 2010, finishing 18th overall at the event. Roemmele finished in 15th at the 2011 Junior Olympic Nationals while also earning the Michigan State Balance Beam Championship that same year. Most recently, Roemmele finished first on uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercise and in the all-around competition at the Kalahari Luau in Leos Invitational. She also finished second on uneven bars at the Presidential Classic and at the Cincinnati Gymnastics Association Coaches Spectacular. The native of White Lake, Mich., won the uneven bars title at the Region 5 Championships in 2010 and followed that by finishing second at the 2011 Region 5 Championships on uneven bars. The talented gymnast finished tied for third on floor exercise and 10th overall at the Region 5 Championships earlier this year.

“I see Amy performing on several events for us this year, but what I am most excited about is that she is excellent on uneven bars,” Garrison said. “A former national champion, she brings a routine that is packed with unique skills and finishes strong with a big dismount.”

The UK gymnastics team is coming off one of the best seasons in school history in 2012 under the first year of Garrison’s guidance. The 2013 schedule will be released later this year.

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