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High school gymnasts getting permanent home

By TRAVIS WEIK - tweik@thecouriertimes.com

The New Castle gymnastics team is filled with talented athletes.

Thanks to a partnership between the school district and a long-time local gym, the girls will now have a place to call home.

Due to space limitations at New Castle High School, the Trojan gymnasts have to break down and store their equipment after practices. Hosting competitive meets is also a hassle because the competitions are spread out in multiple locations around the Fieldhouse.

New Castle Athletic Director Shane Osting started working with Small Wonders Gymnastics owner Katrina Newby in March to find a way to make life easier for the team.

Osting and Newby brought a proposal to the New Castle School Board this week to let the Trojans practice and compete at the new Small Wonders facility that is set to open at 221 N. Memorial Drive in June.

The school board gave permission Monday for the district to enter into an athletic facility agreement with Small Wonders.

“This is where we’ll host our meets and all our practices,” Osting told the school board. “We won’t have to worry about moving our equipment from one area to another.”

Osting said having to constantly move equipment increases the chances of someone getting hurt and has created liability concerns in the past.

The New Castle High School athletic department worked with school administrators, gymnastics coaches and Newby to find a way to make the agreement work for everyone, Osting said.

“I’m really excited for our gymnastics team. I think this is going to be a great opportunity,” he said. “It also allows for off-season training. Our gymnastics team’s never had that ability because our equipment’s always been stored away and only pulled out at certain times.”

Gymnastics is a winter sport and the typical season runs November through March.

Newby started Small Wonders Gymnastics 20 years ago. She announce plans in April to move to the new Memorial Drive location this summer.

The new location will offer double the space and two separate floor spaces for gymnasts of different ability levels.

“I appreciate the opportunity to help the school and help the gymnastics team out by giving them a facility where their equipment is set up all the time,” Newby said, “so they do get the same training that all the other sports get year round or have the opportunity to get.”

“I think it’s going to be a great thing,” Osting agreed.

Newby said many Trojan gymnasts have been Small Wonders students over the years.

With this new partnership, the high school girls practicing in the facility will have the opportunity to mentor younger kids and be examples for them.

Newby said having permanent space could also help New Castle High School grow its gymnastics team.

School board president Travis Callaway is excited for the possibilities, too.

“I think the gymnastics team (is) already awesome, but I think it’s going to take us to a whole other level,” Callaway said. “Now, you’ll see some of those other kids say ‘I want to do what they’re doing.’”