Stone Bridge graduate Caela Flake, seen here competing on the beam in the 2016 Conference 14 Championship, will compete for Ursinus College beginning the 2016/2017 academic school year. / Photo © Aaron Wyche / Viva Loudoun
Ashburn, VA (July 2, 2016) – Stone Bridge graduate Caela Flake will compete in gymnastics for Ursinus College beginning the 2016/2017 academic school year.
“My recruiting experience was fun and informative, although it was quite the relief after I made my decision to commit to Ursinus, said Flake. It was exciting to research different colleges and learn about what each university had to offer. After my commitment, I found out that I was the first gymnast from my high school to sign with a college to compete in gymnastics, making the occasion even more special.”
Ursinus College is a small, private institution founded in 1869, located about 20 miles outside of Philadelphia in the appropriately named town of Collegeville, Pennsylvania. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,681, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 170 acres. Ursinus College’s ranking in the 2016 edition of Best Colleges National Liberal Arts Colleges is #93. Students can choose from more than 60 majors of study, and with a 12:1 student to faculty ratio and no graduate teaching assistants, Ursinus bestows it’s students with privileges and responsibilities of becoming researchers, writers, thinkers and artists alongside its professors. Faculty and staff know you by name and can guide and mentor you in ways not possible at larger campuses. Freshmen at UC must enroll in the Common Intellectual Experience class, which brings students together in small groups to discuss their beliefs and philosophies; an exercise in self-exploration that sets the stage for the next four years.
“I wanted to go to a school that would leave a positive impression on me, said Flake, one that I wouldn’t have to wonder if I choose the right college. I wanted a school that would meet my long-term career goals, help develop my academic skills, give me the opportunity to do gymnastics, and feel like a home away from home. I believe I found that with Ursinus.”
Flake’s head gymnastics coach will be Jeff Schepers. Schepers brings over 39 years of Level 9 and 10 gymnastics coaching experience to the forefront of the Bears gymnastics program. He served as the director of the gymnastics program at the Main Line YMCA for 14 years including directing the 1994 team to the YMCA National Gymnastics Championship. His previous collegiate coaching experience includes a three-year stint as the assistant women’s gymnastics coach at Temple. To date, Ursinus has placed second and third at the NCGA National Gymnastics and has brought home four ECAC titles. At the 2007 and 2008 NCGA National Championships, Schepers was named Coach of the Year and also earned Coach of the Year honors from the NCGA, Division III East Region. During his time at Ursinus, he has coached two All-Around Champions, One Beam and Three Floor champions at the NCGA Championships.
“During my first year, I want to meet new people, create meaningful relationships, win and have fun on the gymnastics team, and get a great education.”
Flake, Stone Bridge Gymnastics’ 2015/2016 MVP and Viva Loudoun 2016 All-Loudoun Gymnastics team selection has been active with gymnastics since the age of six. When asked to share one of here fondest gymnastics memories over those twelve years, Caela shared, “Overall, my entire high school gymnastics experience was awesome. I enjoyed our conference competition and those meets when our entire team achieved team records. Another memory that I will never forget was representing my school at the State Meet and scoring a personal record on beam. My high school team members were the best team members and they helped make lasting memories that I will never forget.”
“I am thankful for my parents and sisters who have always been my #1 fans. They have always been there to support me the entire time I was in gymnastics. They were always there for me. I am also thankful for my high school coaches, Coach Kelly Rosati and Heather Dutton. They were so encouraging and supportive of me this entire year.”
Asked what advice she’d give others pursuing their dream, Flake shared, “When I was younger, I had the opportunity to take private lessons with Dominique Dawes (my olympic role model). During those lessons, she gave me two pieces of advice: ‘If your coach believes you can do a skill, then do it.’ and ‘never give up on your dreams’. That stuck with me because in gymnastics, if you get afraid to attempt big skills, then your mind will make you think you cannot do it. But, if your coach believes you can do it, then you can do it. There were many skills that I just did because my coach said, ‘you can do it.’ At that point, I would say a quick prayer along with Philippians 4:13 ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength’ and I would do it. I want others to also know to never give up on their dreams. Throughout my career, a lot has happened that could have caused me to give up, but I never gave up. Perseverance is the key. So no matter how bad things may be, never give up, keep your faith and stay focused.”
Please join us in wishing Caela the very best in her gymnastics career, and in the classroom as she pursues a degree in biomedical engineering en route to attending medical school.
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