By Mary Beth Bowen
The Brownsville Bees Gymnastics Club brought home 19 medals from the state championships meet in May, including third grader Adley Euans, who was named the state champion on bars. They also had gymnasts place silver on floor and bronze on vault.
The club, which practices in the gym at Brownsville Elementary School twice a week from August to May, was up against some of the strongest teams in the state, all of whom come from full-service gymnastics facilities. The club has 15 gymnasts ranging from second through fifth grade.
The club began in 2010 under the leadership of former gymnast Kelly-Ann Rayle.
Rayle is an official for the National Association of Women’s Gymnastics Judges (NAWGJ) and has been judging since 1995. She coached at Classics Gymnastics for 8 years and started her own company, Gymnastics on the Move, LLC, in 2005.
The club started as an after-school enrichment class (called BEE Gymnastic at Brownsville, under the organization of the Brownsville Parent Teacher Organization) for grades K-5.
In 2010, Rayle received permission from the PTO to start an official team to represent the school in competitions across the state. She invited 12 girls from the BEE class to be a part of the Brownsville Bees Gymnastics Club. They began competing at the XCEL Bronze Level. Today, 11 gymnasts compete at the XCEL Bronze Level and 4 compete at the XCEL Silver Level.
The after-school enrichment BEE gymnastics classes led by Rayle and her assistant coaches are still going strong at Brownsville. Past team members who are now in middle school and high school also return to help coach the BEE classes and the Club’s practices, part of “giving back” that Rayle instills in the girls.
The BEE classes serve as an introduction to gymnastics. Girls who move up to advanced classes, show a love of and dedication to the sport, and demonstrate a strong skill set are invited to compete with the club.
The club has received more than 100 medals in competitions this year.