Gymnastics Announces 2016-17 Schedule, Coaching Staff Addition
Thursday, November 17, 2016

SHREVEPORT, La. – Centenary gymnastics has announced its 2017 season schedule along with a coaching addition.

The upcoming season features 10 regular season meets, including three contests in the Gold Dome, and concludes with the annual Midwest Independent Conference (MIC) Championships January-March. The NCAA Regionals are scheduled for Saturday, April 1, while USA Gymnastics (USAG) Nationals will be hosted by Seattle Pacific April 7-9.

“We are looking forward to the competition season rolling around and I think our meet schedule this year is going to be good for us, said Head Coach Jackie Fain. “We will see several DI teams at the beginning of the year, which will help us see where we stand right off the top.”

The coaching changes include the addition of a familiar face and more responsibilities for Morgan Leachman. Leachman has been elevated to assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, working specifically on vault and beam.

Former Ladies gymnast Ronni Bear (2013-16) has been named a volunteer assistant. A bars specialist, Bear will specifically work with the team on bars and beam.

“I am excited to announce the addition of Ronni Bear to our coaching staff,” said head coach Jackie Fain. “Ronni is a Centenary gymnastics alum, which will help both her and the team during her transition into coaching. She is already comfortable with the present coaching staff, with our facilities, and she has personal relationships with the returning team members. The team has adjusted quickly to Ronni in the preseason, and they love her positive coaching style. She brings a fresh new perspective to our program.”

Centenary opens up its home meets Friday, January 27, when the Ladies welcome Wisconsin-Oshkosh to Shreveport. The Maroon and White close out the weekend with Air Force visiting the Gold Dome for a 2 p.m. meet Sunday, January 29.

The Ladies celebrate senior day on Saturday, February 25 against Lindenwood. The Lions won both the MIC and USAG Nationals last season.

“It is always exciting to be at home, and after a two week break from competition, I know the Ladies will be ready to go for the first two home competitions,” said Fain.  “We are looking forward to two good opponents that weekend in an NCAA Division III team Wisconsin Oshkosh, and then the Air Force Academy for a Division I opponent. From there, we will be on the road for several weekends in a row, meeting up with a few conference teams and Big XII powerhouse Iowa State. 

“On February 25, we are back home for our senior and alumni night against back-to-back conference and national champions, Lindenwood. This will be an exciting afternoon for the Ladies as we send our seniors off as we compete against the best in our conference,” added Fain.

The Ladies will square off against three teams who made the NCAA Regionals last season. This includes taking on Nebraska, an NCAA Championships qualifier, at the Iowa State tri-meet February 3. The Cornhuskers finished last season ranked eighth.

A week later, the Ladies travel to Texas Woman’s for a quad meet against the host Pioneers, Temple, and BYU. BYU finished 2016 ranked 34th to qualify for an NCAA Regional.

Finally, the Maroon and White travel to Fayetteville for a tri-meet March 10 with Arkansas and San Jose State. The Razorbacks qualified for an NCAA Regional, finishing last season ranked 20th.

The Maroon and White kick off the season at the fifth annual Ozone Collegiate Classic in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Saturday, January 14. It is the premier event of a weekend where more than 3,500 men and women gymnasts, as well as trampoline and tumbling athletes, compete at the Knoxville Convention Center. The Ladies will take on Temple, Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and MIC-foe Illinois State.

“Our first meet in Knoxville, Tennessee, will bring us competition from another DIII school along with one of our conference teams, Illinois State. I think it will be a great starting point for us, explained Fain. “Following our opening meet, we will have a week off of competition, which will give us time to work out some of the kinks and the details from our first time out.”

Following a pair of MIC duals at Southeast Missouri State (February 17) and at home against Lindenwood, the Ladies travel to Alaska for a pair of dual meets on March 3 and 5. The Ladies last traveled to Anchorage two seasons ago.

“We hit the road again for our cross country journey to the great north, the University of Alaska-Anchorage,” said Fain. “We will be in Alaska for two meets before making a quick turn-around and head to compete against the Arkansas Razorbacks. These three meets in March will help to prepare us for our conference championships at the University of Illinois-Chicago.”

Coach Fain feels it will be an exciting year for Centenary gymnastics.

“The student-athletes have been working incredibly hard in the gym, and you are going to see several Ladies who were sidelined last year coming back to competition. Our freshman class is going to play a huge role in our success this year, as they bring some exciting gymnastics to Centenary. This group of young women have done an amazing job of building a very good foundation, and have already built the strongest team chemistry we’ve had in several years. I’m excited to see where this team could go!”