Revere adds gymnastics team


Used with permission from Sam Gates

Morrill poses after a successful routine.

For a lot of young athletes, representing their school on the field brings pride and focus. Football players wear their jerseys on game day, cheerleaders excitedly shout the school name from the sidelines and even the marching band serenades the crowd with school-pride-based tunes, all while wearing the school colors. But what happens when your school does not offer your sport? Sophomores Madi Morrill and Sam Gates found themselves stuck, unable to compete for their school in the sport they had spent their entire lives training for. 

Focusing on their goals and speaking with their coaches, Morrill and Gates decided to approach Don Seeker, the Revere athletic director, about their vision: having a Revere Women’s Gymnastics team. To their delight, Seeker was able to work directly to allow them to compete bearing the school’s name, forming a Revere gymnastics team. 

Although only composed of two girls, the team competed for a Revere for the 2022-23 gymnastics season, which ran from December to March. 

Gates explained what the process of starting the team was like. 

“We had to talk to the athletic director, and we also had to talk to my coaches [at Gymnastics World], and they communicated. Eventually, we got a team [at the] very last minute,” Gates said. 

The girls approached Seeker, explaining their plan. Seeker was unsure of the logistics but agreed to look into it. 

“Brecksville has a gymnastics team, so I called [their] athletic director. We don’t have a team. Our girls compete with Brecksville, but Brecksville has two or three other high school teams that do the same [and] have a few girls that don’t have a complete team [practice and travel with them],” Seeker said. 

The Brecksville coaches were old friends of Seeker, making the process even easier, he explained. 

“The coaches were awesome. The head coach’s mother is the owner of Gym World, so she used to be the coach of Brecksville gymnastics. It was really pretty easy. It was a really smooth transition,” Seeker said. 

The sport is nothing new to Gates, as she has been involved in gymnastics almost her entire life, starting at just age two. Throughout the process, she has trained at the same gym, Gymnastics (Gym) World. 

“I started competing in first grade. I did club at Gym World in Brecksville, and I’ve done that my whole life,” Gates said. 

Madi Morrill shares a similar experience, also starting at Gym World at a young age. 

“I started when I was eight, but then quit for a year and a half last year and just came back this year. [I’ve been competing] since 6th grade,” Morrill said. 

Gates and Morrill no longer compete in club gymnastics, instead devoting all their time to competing at the high school level. Competing at a high school level allows them to maintain a high level of competition, while staying closer to home and supporting their school. 

Despite not having a proper gymnastics program and set up at the high school building, the team still hosts home meets at their home gym, Gym World. 

“Meets are very long. If it’s a home meet, then we have to set up before and take down after, and it’s a long day, but we travel to each event with Padua and Brecksville. For high school gymnastics, all the meets are fairly close, but for club gymnastics, they can be far,” Gates said. 

Seeker was able to attend one of these meets, where he then saw firsthand the effects of his work to set up the team. 

“It was awesome. I’ve never been to a gymnastics [meet] before. It was really cool. I know it was frustrating because they got hurt, but it was really cool. It was definitely something we’re looking to do again. . . . As hesitant as I was early on because I’d never done it or knew anything about it, come to find out you can do it,” Seeker said. 

Despite the Revere team being officially composed of only two people, Gates and Morrill consider their friends from other schools who also compete through Gym World one big team. 

Seeker explained what it was like to witness the unique relationship between the teams. 

“It’s weird because there are Brecksville girls, then there are the Revere girls and the Padua girls, and they’re all next to each other, hugging each other and cheering for one another. They all practice together, compete together, go to Gym World in the off-season together. Now they’re competing [for] different [schools]. There’s probably competition, but it’s friendly competition. You do your event, and then there are four teams cheering for you,” Seeker said. 

Although the extended Brecksville-Padua-Revere team is like a family for both girls, Gates and Morrill share a special relationship. 

“I’ve known Madi since level three. That’s a lot of years. It’s cool that we started this team. We definitely want more girls, but the nice thing is we competed and grew up with the whole Brecksville team and part of the Padua team, so it’s like three different schools and three different teams, but it feels like we’re all one big team,” Gates said. 

Morrill agrees, saying that having a separate community outside of the school has its pros and cons but ultimately has brought her and Gates together.

Gates performs her routine on the bars. (Used with permission from Sam Gates. )

“I like it because there is no drama; we don’t have to worry about other people, but also it’d be nice to have some more people. I like it because [the other people] don’t know much about our school and what’s going on inside. It’s a place to get out,” Morrill said. 

Having known each other for many years, Morrill and Gates have developed a strong bond that exists outside of gymnastics and school. 

“[We’ve known each other] since fifth grade. We also live pretty close together, so we’ve become really good friends inside school and outside school,” Morrill said. 

Morrill is also a part of Revere’s cheer squad, which is closely related to her favorite event, floor. Gates, however, prefers bars or vault.

Although this year’s gymnastics season has come to an end for Gates and Morrill, they hope to return next year, again sporting their navy blue, red and white uniforms for Revere.  


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