TROY Gymnastics Team wins Southeast Regional in inaugural year

Published 10:09 am Monday, April 15, 2024

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By Savanah Weed

In its first year, the newly-formed and student-led TROY Gymnastics Team has not only won a regional competition, they’ve qualified for a spot in the National Athletic Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastic Club’s (NAIGC) national championship.

Head coach and club president Maren Settle, a sophomore sports management major from Atlanta, Georgia, was a gymnast for 15 years before suffering a season-ending injury during her sophomore year of high school. Unwilling to give up the sport she spent her whole life training for, Settle spent the next two years of high school coaching gymnastics.

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When she arrived to TROY, she realized how few opportunities gymnasts have at the collegiate level outside of select schools that are part of the NCAA.

“You either become a high-level gymnast and transfer somewhere up north, you go to Alabama or Auburn and compete there or you end your career,” she said. “I had friends who competed in the NAIGC, which is a step above the club level but is below the NCAA. They really loved it. It’s a whole lot of fun, and I thought maybe that could be something that would benefit the TROY community.”

Settle took her idea to Associate Dean of Student Services Dr. Shane Tatum, and the pair worked together to bring her idea to life in the fall of 2023. Recruitment started in August, and practice began in October. Just a few months later in March, the team won the “Chomp the Swamp” Southeast Regional competition hosted by the University of Florida with a score of 107, competing against other teams from the University of South Carolina, Kennesaw State University, Vanderbilt University, Emory University and Florida Atlantic University.

“It’s definitely been a whirlwind and kind of unbelievable for me, especially, and a lot of our girls as well,” she said. “Going from practicing and then turning around and winning a regional championship in March… It’s been crazy.”

The TROY Gymnastics Team is open to all students regardless of gymnastics experience. While most of the girls on the current team do have some level of experience, Settle said it’s been exciting to share her love and knowledge of the sport with the newcomers.

“The NAIGC is very inclusive in all levels of gymnastics. We do have some girls that just practice with us and don’t compete and have had a little bit less gymnastic experience, or none at all,” she said. “We’ve enjoyed getting to train them up and share the love of the sport that we have with them.”

On April 14 at 4 p.m., the Troy community will get to see the TROY Gymnastics Team in action at United Gymstars & Cheer on Hwy. 231. TROY students get in free, and general admission tickets are $5.

Settle and her team will begin recruitment for next year’s squad this summer and into the fall semester. Those interested in joining are encouraged to email