PITTSBURGH- University of Pittsburgh gymnastics head coach Debbie Yohman has announced the signing of three National Letters of Intent for the Pitt gymnastics squad. Joining the Panthers in the fall of 2015 will be Krista Collins from Weddington, N.C., Kensleigh Owens of Huntersville, N.C. and Brittany West of Clermont, Fla.
“All three of these athletes were recruited from clubs where we have great relationships with the coaching staff,” said Yohman. “We know how the kids are trained, we feel good about their basics as well as their advanced skill choices, and know that the coaching staffs will look out for their health and welfare until they send them to Pitt. All three are strong gymnasts with high level skills, we like the character and personality they will bring and feel that they are definitely program movers.”
Krista Collins | Weddington, N.C.
Krista Collins comes to Pitt from Weddington High School and trains at Southeastern Gymnastics where she is coached by Ludmilla Shobe. She is a third-year level 10 gymnast and has been a Junior Olympic National Qualifier the past two years. Collins placed third in the all-around and on vault, while placing fourth on floor at the NC State meet.
“Krista is the athlete with the perseverance and passion for the sport that just doesn’t waver,” said Yohman. “She is a team leader in the gym who still has potential to reach for and will continue to work hard until she achieves it.”
Away from the gym, Krista is a true student-athlete as she has been the recipient of three academic letter bars, is on the National Spanish Honor Society and has enrolled herself in honors and AP classes throughout her high school years.
“I knew the second I stepped on Pitt's campus that it was the place for me as I loved every single thing about it, from the coaches, to the team, to the incredible city-like campus,” said Collins. “I am looking forward to what the future holds for me as a Pitt Panther and can't wait to start my journey at the school I fell in love with immediately. Hail to Pitt!”
Kensleigh Owens | Huntersville, N.C.
Kensleigh Owens will also be joining the Panthers in 2015. The Huntersville, N.C. native also trains at Southeastern Gymnastics under Shobe and is teammates with fellow classmate, Krista Collins. She is a third-year level 10 gymnast and currently attends W.A. Hough High School.
“Kensleigh is a fierce competitor who goes after routines and competitions with an attitude that won’t be denied,” said Yohman. “She likes stepping out of the box with unique combinations and skills where her competitiveness really shows.”
This past year, Owens has been the Region 8 Level 10 Floor Champion and the Level 10 North Carolina State Champion along with being a Level 10 Junior Olympic National Qualifier. In 2011, she was the Level 9 Junior Olympic National Champion.
“I chose Pitt because it felt like home to me,” Owens said. “With the resources Pitt has to offer, I knew it was the right decision for my education. Each day gets closer and closer until I am in Pittsburgh and the excitement just grows. I cannot wait to finally walk to class on campus and know I am officially a Panther.”
Brittany West | Clermont, Fla.
West currently attends Lake Minneola High School and trains under Kelly Pitzen at Brandy Johnson’s Global Gymnastics Academy. This past year West placed fourth on the beam, sixth on floor and eighth in the all-around at Nationals. While competing at the state meet, she recorded three first place finishes including the beam and vault events and in the all-around. West was a two time level 10 state AA champion.
“Brittany is a combination of Krista and Kensleigh,” said Yohman. “She’s a competitor and a team leader, who does well under pressure, never quits, and brings everyone along with her.”
In the classroom, West is enrolled in AP classes, holds a 4.0 GPA and is an Honors student.
“I chose Pitt because I am excited about the academic opportunities and gymnastics program, “said West. “ I loved the coaches and the girls, and I am looking forward to achieving our goals together. I can't wait to be at Pitt and to start competing as a Panther!”
The Pitt gymnastics team will open the season on Dec. 6 when they host Kent State in its annual Blue-Gold Meet which is slated to begin at 2 p.m. Competition season will officially begin on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 when the Panthers welcome Ohio State in their first home meet of the year which is set to begin at 7 p.m.
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