Gymnastic Introduces Incoming Freshmen Class
Tuesday, August 8, 2017

SHREVEPORT, La. – Centenary gymnastics and head coach Jackie Fain introduced on Tuesday, August 8, four incoming gymnasts for the 2018 season: Jer Harris, Jenny Jackson, Dorothy Mims, and Sierra Ponder.

“I am excited about what this incoming freshmen class is going to bring to Centenary! Not only as contributing members of the gymnastics team, but as Centenary students,” said Fain. “I believe this group of Ladies brings with them values which will mesh seamlessly with our program and will lead them to be exemplary members of the Centenary community. They will be an incredible fit in our family.”

Added Fain: “The combination of these four gymnasts, and what they bring to the team, is the bang we need for our team to continue to move up in the rankings. Each one of them will contribute something that will help to make our team better. But the most exciting thing is that they will not only come in and immediately impact our lineups, thus pushing the current athletes to become better, but also they have so much potential to continue to become better themselves!”

 

The following is a more in-depth look at the freshmen class.

 

 

Jer Harris

Freshman

Memphis, Tenn. / Central HS / Gymstars

 

Harris competed for head coaches Donna and Gene Alexin the Gymstarts club in Collierville, Tennessee. Accomplishments include qualifying for Regionals from 2014-17 as well as being an Eastern Qualifier in 2016.

Career best scores are:

  • Vault: 9.5
  • Bars: 9.4
  • Beam: 9.3
  • Floor: 9.5
  • All-Around 37.000

At Central HS, she was inducted into Mu Alpha Theta, the Math Honor Society.

Harris is the daughter of Sonja and Joseph Harris. At Centenary, she is majoring in new media design.

Harris’ Favorite Event: My favorite event is beam, mainly because I love the challenge of trying to get both your mind and body to focus on a four-inch piece of equipment.

 

Why Harris Chose Centenary: The reason I chose centenary is because I loved everything about it from the start. I enjoy the small campus size and the type of environment that surrounds it.

Coach Fain on Harris: Jer has shown an 'all-in' attitude since we first started recruiting her and made it known from the time she arrived for her campus visit, we were her top choice. She has an infectious personality which is contagious, and just lights up when she talks about becoming a Lady! Her coaches told me from the beginning what a great role-model she is for the girls on her club team, and what a strong work-ethic she has.  With the combination of qualities Jerrica brings, along with her athleticism, I see endless possibilities for her future.

Jer is an all-around athlete and has the potential to contribute for the Ladies across the board. She doesn’t necessarily have an event she stands out on, but she seems to be consistent across all four events, which means she will be someone that the team will be counting on in a big way. I know she will give everything she has every day and will continue to become an even more remarkable athlete and person.

 

 

Jenny Jackson

Freshman

Monticello, Fla. / Aucilla Christian Academy / Taylor Gymnastics

 

Competed for Taylor Gymnastics club, owned by Lisa Arrowood and coached by Mike Romano. Besides winning the Gasprilla Invite in 2017, she qualified for USA Gymnastics Regionals and AAU Nationals in both 2016 and 2017. Jackson won 2017 AAU National Championships on bars, beam, and in the all-around, also winning on floor at the Florida State Championships. In 2016, she placed first in Level 10 at AAU Nationals on vault, bars, and beam, winning the AAU State Championship in the all-around. Other accomplishments include:

  • 2014: Level 9 AAU State Champion, Floor
  • 2013: Level 8 AAU Nationals, 1st place on vault, bars, and in the all-around. Also won the State Championship in Level 8 on vault.
  • 2012: Level 8 State, 1st place on vault, bars, beam, and in the all-around.

 Career best scores are:

  • Vault: 9.2
  • Bars: 9.25
  • Beam: 9.8
  • Floor: 9.425
  • All-Around: 36.5

Academic accomplishments at Aucilla include being a member of the Beta Club, an Ambassador, and a four-year Honor Roll honoree. Harris was the President of her senior class, a Student Council representative, and graduated with Honors and Beta.

The daughter of Danny and Lisa Jackson, she has one brother, Tyler. At Centenary, she is majoring in biology.

 

Jackson’s Favorite Event: Bars, because it shows my strength and they are really fun.

Why Jackson Chose Centenary: I choose centenary because I loved the campus, team, and coaches. I really felt like part of the family when I visited. I think that centenary is a perfect fit for me. I am so excited to be a part of the Centenary Ladies Gymnastics Team.

Coach Fain on Jackson: Jenny has a passion that glows from within! What I have learned about Jenny through the recruiting process is she has so many intangible qualities that will positively affect her teammates; she is a great teammate and someone who is continually motivating her teammates to be their best. She is always there to assist a teammate in need or lend a hand. She has that 'first in-last out' mentality when it comes to practice and has obvious leadership qualities and strong values.”

Jenny’s strength coming in is bars, and she will definitely help with much needed depth on that event. She comes from a small gym with limited training facilities, and I am so excited to see her blossom into an amazing collegiate gymnast once she has the opportunity to train in a facility that will allow her to upgrade her difficulty on each event. I can’t wait to see the joy she brings to the gym once she starts soaring upward in her gymnastics. I certainly don’t expect it to take Jenny long to be ready to contribute to the line-ups on several events!”

 

Dorothy Mims

Freshman

Huntsville, Ala. / Westminster Christian Academy / Huntsville Gymnastics Center

 

Mims competed for the Huntsville Gymnastics Center and head coaches James Linderholm, Sarah Behel, Nicole Wall, and Amanda Kerr. She was a Region 8 qualifier from 2009-2016. She won on beam, floor, and in the all-around at the Auburn Classic and the Alabama State Championships in 2016. Also that year, she won every event at the Huntsville Winter Invitational. Other accomplishments include:

  • 2015: Won on beam at the Auburn Classic and won on vault and beam at the Huntsville Fall Invitational.
  • 2014: Won on vault and beam at the Atlanta Crown competition, while winning on beam at the Vision Classic. Won every event at the Huntsville Invitational.

Career best scores are:

  • Vault: 9.4
  • Bars: 9.225
  • Beam: 9.5
  • Floor: 9.475
  • All-Around: 37.225

Academic awards for Mims include the 2016 Westminster Christian Academy Science Award recipient for excellence in Physics, the Mathematics Award for excellence in AP calculus, and the recipient of the President’s Award for Educational Excellence. She is also a Westminster Christian Academy Honors Graduate.

She is the daughter of Dennis and Tracy Mims and has one brother, Sam. At Centenary, she is majoring in mechanical engineering.

 

Mims’ Favorite Event: Beam- I think beam is fun, and it’s where I feel most comfortable and confident.

Why Mims Chose Centenary: Coach Jackie and the team made me feel so welcome on my visit. Centenary will give me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of competing as a college gymnast, while also being in a unique 3-2 engineering program and not being too far from home.

Coach Fain on Mims: Dorothy brings with her a wealth of talent and experience. She is self-motivated and has an internal drive to be the best. You can see she has a deep love for gymnastics and a fire that has pushed her through the difficulty of rehab, setbacks and frustration. I am amazed by her motivation and I look forward to watching her continue to progress.

I expect Dorothy to make a huge impact in our lineups from the start.  She has impeccable form and execution, she is powerful and has the difficulty needed to compete at the collegiate level. She should be an immediate contributor on three events: vault, beam and floor. However, she is also expected to be in contention for an all-around spot. I am over the moon about Dorothy’s potential and I can’t wait to help her develop into a championship caliber athlete.

 

 

Sierra Ponder

Freshman

Loganville, Ga. / South Gwinnett HS / Georgia Gymnastics Academy

 

Ponder competed for head coaches Amanda Cain, Annette Kaiser, and Judy Prestigiacomo at Georgia Gymnastics Academy. A regional qualifier from 2012-2017, she won both the vault and all-around at the Atlanta Paw’s for a Cause Meet in 2017. At USA Gymnastic Region 8 Championships, she finished sixth on vault, 15th on bars, and 17th on vault.

Career best scores are:

  • Vault: 9.85
  • Bars: 9.425
  • Beam: 9.0
  • Floor: 9.425
  • All-Around: 36.9

Throughout her high school career, Ponder achieved Honor Roll status.

The daughter of Anthony and Tracey Ponder, she has one brother, Antonius. At Centenary, she is majoring in psychology.

Ponder’s Favorite Event: Bars is my favorite event because I feel it’s where you show how creative you really are by what skills you do. It’s definitely challenging at times, but that’s what makes it so great.

Why Ponder Chose Centenary: I chose Centenary because the school challenges me and has been in my corner since day one. This school is going to get me to the next level, and I’m excited to start the next chapter of my life.

Coach Fain on Ponder: Sierra comes from a gym with a long history of producing NCAA gymnasts – her coaches will have her well prepared. She has high aspirations and the talent and work ethic to achieve those. What struck me most about Sierra when I first met her is her calm confidence. I believe she will be a role model in the gym and a positive influence and example to her teammates. But I think people better watch out for her when she hits the competition floor; it seems to me there is a fierce competitor lurking inside!

Sierra will immediately become one of, if not our best, bar worker, she is a serious bar swinger! She is also very powerful and should become a top vaulter and floor contributor. She seems to have the whole package and I am excited to help her reach her goals as a collegiate athlete.

 

“We are so proud to announce the addition of these four young women who will join us and begin to leave their stamp on Centenary gymnastics this fall,” added Fain.