South Riding, Va. — Freedom High School senior and two-time state champion Sydney Wrighte has decided to continue her gymnastics career at Auburn University starting in the 2018-2019 academic year.
“Being committed feels like a dream,” the 5-foot-3 gymnast said. “Sometimes when I wake up I forget that I’m actually going to Auburn, and then when I think about how I’m going to be a Tiger, I begin smiling.”
Auburn is located in Auburn, Alabama, less than 60 miles outside of the state’s capital city of Montgomery. The university has 206 academic buildings on 1,841 acres of land for the 27,000 students that attend. There are more than 140 majors and more than 300 clubs and organizations that Auburn students can choose to become a part of.
“From the moment I stepped on campus, I was hoping that Auburn would be my home for my collegiate career,” Wrighte said. “A huge part of my decision in choosing Auburn was that I know they are going to set me up for success in every area of my collegiate career.”
Currently ranked No. 16 in the country, the Division I Tigers are led by head coach Jeff Graba and assisted by Kurt Hettinger and Mary McDaniel.
“I hope to add to the team’s success by competing in vault, floor, and possibly beam,” Wrighte said. “I’m very fortunate that they chose me to be a part of their team. It seemed like the perfect fit because I love the coaches, the team, and I truly think I will be able to contribute to the team’s success.”
Wrighte has been a competitive gymnast since she was five-years-old, but she took her first gymnastics class even earlier. With over 13 years of experience, she currently competes on all four events for both the Freedom Eagles and her club team at Hill’s Gymnastics in Maryland.
“I really like the thrill, fear and excitement that comes from the sport,” Wrighte said. “There are skills you must learn and perform that are completely terrifying, yet I push myself to do them. Many fails will come, but it is so rewarding once you accomplish the skill. You have to put in a lot of hard work to be the best in gymnastics, but it is very rewarding when you place at a meet from these skills.”
The most exciting experience in Wrighte’s gymnastics career was when she and her high school team traveled to Virginia Beach in 2016 for the VHSL 5A State championship meet at Kellam High School, where the Eagles won their first state title. Wrighte also came out victorious, winning the all-around state title. The future Auburn Tiger continued her reign in 2017, again winning the all-around while her team finished runners-up.
“I have been extremely fortunate to have such a successful high school career,” Wrighte said. “I am so thankful to have been able to help Freedom be successful as a team as well.”
The two-time state champion gymnast credits her mother and coach, Laura Wrighte, for enrolling her in gymnastics in the first place and teaching her what it takes to be a gymnast.
“My mom was a high school gymnastics coach, so I would go to practice with her when I was a toddler,” Wrighte said. “She then put me in classes and I took off from there. I’ve always been a competitor, ever since I competed in my first meet at four-years-old. I’ve worked extremely hard since then, practicing about 25 hours a week and in another state to accomplish my goal of becoming a collegiate gymnast. With hard work and perseverance, dreams really do come true!”