Gymnastics adds seven for 2015-16 season
Top Row (left to right): Navia Jordan, Tavia Smith, Vanessa Peterman, Natalie.Scates. Bottom Row (left to right): Elizabeth Sander, Mackenzie Packer, Aspen Hattley.
Gymnastics adds seven for 2015-16 season
Monday, July 20, 2015

SHREVPORT, LA – Head gymnastics coach Jackie Fain announced the addition of seven gymnasts to join the Centenary College athletic family on Monday, June 20.

“I am so excited about this group of young Ladies,” Fain said. “We have worked hard to build a championship culture here at Centenary, and I believe these seven incoming freshman will build upon that culture. They have the drive, determination, and passion to become one of the best classes we have seen in a long time; not only in the gym, but in the classroom as well.  This class brings some pretty impressive academic credentials with them. They are all excited to begin their collegiate experience.”

The Ladies would like to welcome Aspen Hattley, Navia Jordan, Mackenzie Packer, Vanessa Peterman, Elizabeth Sander, Natalie Scates, and Tavia Smith for the 2015-16 season.

“Each of them brings their own intangible qualities which make them a perfect fit for our team. Together, they are going to add some much needed strength and depth to our line-ups - which will make us a team to contend with this upcoming season,” explained Fain. “We only lost five routines to graduation last year, but this group is going to be pushing our returners, which will only make this team stronger.” 

“I am going to go out on a limb and say seven just might be our lucky number!” added Fain.


Here is a closer look at all seven incoming freshmen:


Aspen Hattley

Dallas, Texas / K-12 International Academy

Aspen joins the Ladies after competing for Trevino’s Gymnastics for coaches Rich and Marilyn Trevino. Honors include:

  • Regional Qualifier 2011-2014
  • Western National Qualifier 2013 and 2014
  • 2013 Western National 2nd place All-Around
  • 2014 state champion on floor exercise
  • 2014 Western Nationals 2nd place vault

The daughter of Ketena Griffin, Aspen intends to major in psychology and education.

Why Aspen Chose Centenary: I chose Centenary because everything made me feel at ease. The staff and students were very nice, easy going, personable, and inviting. As I want to pursue a career in education, I got all of the information I need: they showed me all the classes, tests, and other essentials I would need to take in order to pursue my career in teaching. This gave me a great start in wanting to join the Centenary family, and I am glad I did! 

Coach Fain said about Aspen: I am so excited to have Aspen joining our team. She brings a special quality to the gym with her humbleness and her extreme work ethic. Aspen will bring an excitement to the competition floor with her great dance style and her powerful gymnastics! I think Aspen will be ready to step into our line-ups on two or three events right away: she is loaded with potential, and I can’t wait to see her success as a collegiate gymnast.



Navia Jordan

Jacksonville, Fla. / Atlantic Coast HS

Navia joins the Ladies after competing for VEGA and head coaches Valentin Buse and Michelle Aspinwall. Honors include:

  • Regional Qualifier 2009-2015
  • Eastern National Qualifier 2011
  • Regional Beam and Floor Champion (2011)
  • Regional Runner-Up Beam (2015)


Navia is the daughter of Samuel and Jacqueline Jordan and has two brothers in Milan and Kristopher. She intends major in communications.

Why Navia Chose Centenary: I chose Centenary because I really loved the campus when I visited. I also like the communications department and the fact I would be able to switch around classes to fit a specific profession. Also, I loved the family atmosphere that surrounded the gymnastics team. Even though this is a small school, I can see myself going to Centenary as there is a sense of comfort I really like.

Coach Fain said about Navia: Navia is going to bring some really strong gymnastics to the table from the beginning. I foresee her competing to be one of our top performers on beam and floor, but she has been working hard on the other two events as well. Navia is a determined individual who knows what she wants, and I believe she wants to be a champion! Physically, she is the full package; her lines, her feet, her flexibility, and her power are like having your cake and eating it too! I think Navia will blossom here at Centenary and could be a future all-around performer for us.


Mackenzie Packer

Lewisville, Texas / Lewisville HS


Mackenzie comes to Centenary from Achievers Gymnastics and was coached by JJ Conley and Frank Kudlac. Honors include:

  • Regional Qualifier 2012-2015
  • Western National Qualifier 2012 and 2013

The daughter of Mark and Karen Packer, Mackenzie has two sisters in Courtney and Kaylee. She graduated from Lewisville HS in the top-10% of a class consisting of 981 students and intends to major in biomedical engineering at Centenary. Mackenzie also received the Girl Scouts Bronze and Silver Awards.

Why Mackenzie chose Centenary: To be honest, before the fall semester of my senior year, I had never thought about making Centenary an option for my future schooling plans. However, when I received an email from Coach Jackie, which included all the information for the 3-2 Program Centenary offers, it stopped my college decision process in its tracks. After visiting and learning more about the life and opportunities for students at Centenary, as well as interacting with the team, I fell in love with everything about it, and knew that Centenary is where I belonged.

Coach Fain said about Mackenzie: Mackenzie is going to bring a positive light and an excitement to this team from the first moment she arrives on campus. She has an undeniable ‘spark’ about her and a charisma that draws people to her. Mackenzie is loaded with untapped potential, and I believe she is ready to burst onto the collegiate gymnastics scene. I think she may be a surprise to some people. She comes from a gym known to prepare their athletes for collegiate competition, and I expect Mackenzie to follow in her teammates’ footsteps. I expect her to add depth to our team and fight for line-up spots on all four events as the year progresses.


Vanessa Peterman

La Habra, Calif. / Troy HS

Vanessa will join the Ladies program after competing for Eric Will and Macrae Wenger at the club level. Honors include:

  • Regional Qualifier 2013 and 2014
  • 2014 State Meet 6th place floor exercise

Vanessa is the daughter of Michael and Zena Peterman and has two siblings: Jennifer and Ryan. In the tech program at Troy HS, she was on the Principal’s Honor Roll all four years. Vanessa intends to major in biology and be a physician’s assistant.

Why Vanessa chose Centenary: I chose Centenary because as soon as I met everyone here, I immediately felt part of the Centenary family. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to compete with such an amazing team and coach.

Coach Fain said about Vanessa: Vanessa has such an endearing quality about her: everyone who meets her instantly falls in love with her. She not only has such a special personality, but she is dynamite in the gym! Vanessa is on the verge of exploding into an amazing gymnast – she is just sitting on the edge of coming into her own, and I am so excited to be able to help her do that. I am expecting her to be a major contributor for us in the next four years. Her capabilities encompass all four events, and I can see her potentially competing in the all-around.


Elizabeth Sander

Omaha, Neb. / Millard West HS

Elizabeth will come to Centenary after competing for Nebraska Gold Gymnastics and head coaches Barb Bottieri and Andi Molina. Honors include:

  • Regional Qualifier 2010, 2012, 2013
  • Western National Qualifier 2012
  • 2013 Chicago Style Beam Champion
  • 2013 Regional Runner-Up on beam

Elizabeth is the daughter of Mike and Penny Sander and has one sister, Emily. While at Millard West HS, she was both a four-time Honor Roll and Academic Letter recipient as well as a Student Council and Spanish Honor Society member. She will be a recipient of the Nan Christian scholarship at Centenary and intends to major in biology and occupational therapy.

Why Elizabeth chose Centenary: I chose Centenary because of the strong biology department, the small campus and small class sizes, and of course, the wonderful people involved with the gymnastics program.

Coach Fain said about Elizabeth: I knew from the first moment I met Elizabeth, she possessed the qualities we are looking for in our Ladies! She has struggled through some injuries the past couple of years, yet has never wavered in her desire to become a collegiate gymnast. Her commitment and perseverance have been unmatched as she has battled back from a string of bad luck. Elizabeth will be ready to add depth to our beam and floor lineups this year, and I am looking forward to her sharing her calm demeanor when she competes to the rest of her teammates!


Natalie Scates

Houston, Texas / Harmony School of Advancement

Natalie will come to Centenary after competing for Bannons Gymnastix and head coaches Julian Gomez and Becky Munoz. Accomplishments include:

  • Regional Qualifier 2012-2014
  • Western National Qualifier 2014
  • 2nd place on bars and beam at Level 9 Texas State Championships (2014)
  • 3rd place All-Around at Level 9 Texas State Championships (2014)
  • 2nd place on bars at Level 9 Region 3 Championships

Natalie is the daughter of Melody Jackson and John Scates and is the sister of current Centenary gymnastics member, Allison. While a student at Harmony, she was the Key Club historian, a member of the National Honor Society, an AP Scholar and a class representative. At Centenary, she intends to major in biology and physical therapy.

Why Natalie chose Centenary: I chose Centenary because of the coach, my teammates, the location, and the scholarships I received from the College.

Coach Fain said about Natalie: It is going to be so much fun to have sisters on the team, and if Natalie has half the work ethic her sister does, she is going to do amazing things! It has been refreshing to see how Natalie has grown over the past three years. She brings a fresh and positive outlook to the team, as she has that bubbly personality to brighten a person’s day. She has been battling an injury this year, and we are looking forward to her being ready to train 100% this fall. I am anticipating Natalie to be competing for a spot in the bar line-up from the get-go.


Tavia Smith

Frisco, Texas / Frisco HS

Tavia comes to Centenary after competing for Sky High Gymnastics and head coaches David and Wanda Lewis. Accomplishments include:

  • Regional Qualifier 2010, 2012, 2015
  • 2nd on beam and 3rd on vault at the Anna Brashear Invitational 2015
  • 2nd on bars and 2nd all around at Zenith Invitational 2015
  • Champion on beam, 3rd on bars and 2nd all around at the Candy Cane 2015
  • 2nd on vault and 3rd on bars and floor at the Sand Dollar Invitational 2015


Tavia is the daughter if Shawn and Sheila Smith, and has a brother Tevon. At Frisco HS, she was a member of the National Honor Society and the honor roll, a National Achievement Outstanding Participant and an AP Scholar with Distinction Award winner. At Centenary, Tavia intends to major in biology and physical therapy.

Why Tavia chose Centenary: I love the team environment they have here and how the whole team is like a family. Also, I like the high value of education I’ll receive at Centenary, and I believe a Centenary education will best prepare me to accomplish my goal of becoming a physical therapist.

Coach Fain said about Tavia: We are excited to bring Tavia into our family. She is a dynamic gymnast and will certainly be in the running to help on several events. She has a very good gymnastics foundation to build upon and I see big things in her future! She is a caring young lady, and I anticipate her growing into a very strong leader for us in the coming years. 


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