General McLane student-gymnasts succeed on the mat

Posted on September 15, 2017, in Athletics, Events

Throughout the year, General McLane students will get to do some tumbling and balance activities through their Health and Physical Education classes. Some may wobble for balance, but some students can execute these moves with a bit more grace.

After all, for these students, the moves have become second nature.

Senior Julia Taylor, junior Alexis Throop, sophomore Lynzi King, fourth grader Lily Gee and first grader Claire Delaney have found success on the mat through Lakettes & Lakers Gymnastic Academy, a non-school affiliated gymnastic center in Erie that has trained a variety of competitive gymnasts.

Just ask Delaney, who placed first in two individual events as a kindergartner, earning herself a state title on both Bars and Vault and finishing second All-around during the Pennsylvania Level 3 State Meet. Or ask three-time regional qualifier Julia Taylor, who is looking to continue competing at the collegiate level.

This year, each girl has a significant set of goals. To reach them, these students will train anywhere from 12 to 20 hours a week and compete in several competitions throughout the year, including the upcoming Team Expo on November 4.

When these students train, they get to see a familiar face. One of their coaches is General McLane High School biology teacher Chris Gilbert, who has coached gymnastics for 15 years.

“Each girls brings something special to the gym, and I am proud to be their coach,” Gilbert said.

Read more about each student below:

Julia Taylor, Class of 2018
When I started gymnastics: 2002
Years competing: 11 years
Current level: Level 9
Titles: 3x regional qualifier
Favorite thing about gymnastics: Working out with amazing teammates
Best memories: Meeting Olympic level gymnasts throughout the years
Goal for 2017-2018 season: Having my last season be my best season

Alexis Throop, Class of 2019
When I started gymnastics: Age 3
Years competing: 7 years
Current Level: Level 8
Titles: Level 8 State Qualifier
Favorite thing about gymnastics: The feeling of accomplishing a new skill and getting to work with a great team.
Best memories: Getting to meet an Olympic gymnast
Goal for 2017-2018 season: To qualify for Level 8 regionals

Lynzi King, Class of 2020
When I started gymnastics: 7 years old
Years competing: 6 years
Currently Level: Level 7
Titles: 2015-2016 X-cel Platinum All-Around champion
Favorite thing about gymnastics: The sisterhood of all the girls, and how you don’t just learn gymnastics, you learn important life lessons such as strength, discipline, confidence and dignity.
Best memories: At my first competition, I was so proud of myself for getting a 9.2 on bars, and at Steel City last season, I got my highest scores on 3 events up to that point.
Goal for upcoming year: Get stronger and get all the new skills I need and more.

Lily Gee, Class of 2026
When I started gymnastics: 2 ½ years old.
Years competing: 2 years, entering 3rd year
Current Level: Level 4
Titles: Level 3 State Qualifier
Favorite thing about gymnastics: Accomplishing personal goals in the sport, and of course, spending so much time with her friends!
Best memories: Making my round-off back handspring, and my team placing first at the Living the Dream meet in February 2017.
Goal for 2017-2018 season: Qualifying for the Level 4 State Competition, and earning a State Title.

Claire Delaney, Class of 2029
When I started gymnastics: 2 years old
Years competing: 2 years, entering 3rd year
Current Level: Level 4
Titles: 2016-2017 Western PA Bars State Champion and 2016-2017 Western PA Vault State Champion
Favorite thing about gymnastics: Every day I practice, I get better and better! Gymnastics makes me strong, and I can do more things because I’m so strong. I love flying on the uneven bars.
Best memories: Being able to move up to level 4 so I can learn harder skills. Winning State Championship on Bars and Vault this year.
Goal for 2017-2018 season: Work hard and earn 1st place AA at Level 4 States!!

Coach Chris Gilbert, GMHS Teacher
Years Coaching: 15 years, the last 10 as a head coach at Lakettes.
Accomplishments: Has helped numerous girls earn state, regional and national titles and has helped six girls earn full collegiate scholarships to Penn State, Kent, George Washington University, Rutgers and Gannon in the last 8 years. During the 2016-2017 Season, he coached 20 state champions.