Monday, April 22, 2019 Medina 43°
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High School Gymnastics

Gazette MVP: State champ as sophomore, there's no doubting Thomas

  • mgd1jordynt5xcolor-jpg

    Brunswick's Jordyn Thomas is 2019 Gazette Gymnastics MVP.`

    PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY AARON JOSEFCZYK

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Brunswick sophomore Jordyn Thomas has become the most decorated gymnast in school history by a wide margin.

The 16-year-old phenom also is one of just six Medina County girls to win a state championship, capturing the 2019 floor exercise title with a brilliant performance.

She possesses the rare combination of artistry, athleticism, charisma, power and a laser-like focus on her goals and is already back in the gym, preparing for her junior season.

Rest assured, her competition is on notice.

“I definitely feel uplifted after winning state, more confident now than I’ve ever been,” Thomas said. “Repetition is a critical part of gymnastics, so I’m working on that every day and planning upgrades for next year.

“I have a lot more things that I want to accomplish for our team, and I’m not going to stop until we do it together.”

The two-time Gazette MVP rose to the occasion throughout the winter, posting the county’s top scores across the board while winning an area-best 18 events. The latter included the all-around and balance beam titles at both the West Geauga Sectional and Greater Cleveland Conference Meet.

Thomas claimed the maximum five state berths out of the West Geauga District, then earned a school-record three medals at the Ohio championship meet. She scored a career-high 9.475 in winning the floor, finished fifth on the vault and tied for sixth in the all-around.

Those three podium appearances, coupled with her sixth-place showing in the all-around as a freshman, gave Thomas more medals than every other Blue Devils gymnast in history combined. She also was the program’s first (and second) all-around placer at state.

“Jordyn is definitely on an upswing — I know that might sound kind of crazy because she’s already competing at such a high level — but it’s true,” Brunswick coach Jacqueline Krist said.

“Her routines are super, super clean and she has great technique. She’s also gotten a lot more powerful as she’s grown, and she works hard on improving every day. It’s very exciting to think about her next two years.”

Thomas’ state crown was the first in the county since Medina’s Emilie Rymer won nine golds during her incomparable run from 2004-06, including back-to-back-to-back all-around titles.

Local gymnasts have captured 15 total championships over 47 years of state competition, 13 of them outright. Medina County Sports Hall of Famers Rymer and Heather Mohler of Wadsworth are the only multiple-time titlists.

Like Rymer and Mohler in years past, Thomas’ work ethic is impeccable and obvious to anyone who practices alongside her. She trains 20 hours a week at the Dominique Moceanu Gymnastics Center in Medina, fine-tuning her gymnastics, dance and yoga skills under the legendary Olympic champion.

“I was speechless the first time I saw (Thomas) there,” said Wadsworth sophomore Emilee Loparo, a district beam qualifier. “There are some gymnasts who stand out right away, and she’s definitely one that you want to watch because she can do such amazing things.”

Though she stands 5-foot-4, Thomas is aware that she casts an imposing figure in the gym. Her fierce competitiveness could be misinterpreted as standoffish, which is why she attempts “to be as nice as I can to everyone and try to say ‘Hi’ as much as possible.”

Krist and Brunswick assistant Christina Lenny noticed the extra effort that Thomas put forth to welcome the five newcomers to the squad, which is expected to contend for a state team berth in 2020. With no returning upperclassmen, her role as a captain will be critical to their success.

“Jordyn is ready to be a good leader,” Krist said confidently. “She stepped up and tried to set a great example with the freshmen from day one, and I know she understands how important her leadership is going to be for the next two years.”

Thomas readily admits that her next goal is the state all-around title. Moments after being announced as the floor winner at Hilliard Bradley, she was pulled aside by 2007 state A-A champion Lenny, who said, “You’re going to be the one to pass the torch on because you’re going for the all-around here next year.”

If Thomas has anything to say about it, and it would be foolish to bet against her, the rest of the Blue Devils will be there to share in the moment.

“Being one of the oldest girls on the team, it’s natural for me to be a ‘big sister’ and I really enjoy it,” she said. “This group has so much potential, I want us to make it to state as a team next year, then have a bunch of us qualify as individuals the next day.

“I love high school gymnastics and that would be the best feeling, representing our school both days and showing everyone what Brunswick gymnastics is all about.”

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com. Follow him @BrianDulik on Twitter.


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