New Gymnastics Rec Team Proves Strong at Nationals

May 31, 2012

Tommy Trompeter

Tommy Trompeter performed a release move on the high bar at nationals. He placed fourth in that event and first in both the pommel horse and the rings.

A mathematical sciences major at UT Dallas is now the national champion in both the pommel horse and the rings in all-division collegiate club sports gymnastics.

Tommy Trompeter, a sophomore in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, was ranked first in the nation in both events after participating in the National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs competition held last month in Salt Lake City. Trompeter also placed fourth on the high bar.

“Winning both pommel horse and rings was exciting and more than I could have asked for,” Trompeter said. “It was my first time at this meet, and I was surprised at how friendly and supportive everyone was, especially to a new competitor like me. I knew it would be tough, but I just tried to focus on having fun and performing to the best of my ability.”

It has been a swift and surprising rise to the top for members of the UT Dallas club. Only last year, Ryan Huffer, a graduate student in mechanical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, formed the team. 

UT Dallas Gymnastics

Here are UT Dallas team members at nationals in Salt Lake City. From left: Ryan Huffer, Emily Johnson, Yinon Michaeli, Megan Michon, Tommy Trompeter and Jennifer Meneely.

Huffer is now president of the club, and himself placed 15th on the floor exercise and high bar events at nationals.

“I started thinking about forming a club in fall 2010,” Huffer said. “I realized there was potential because there are no other college gym clubs in the area, and Dallas is home to many of the top gyms in the country.”

Open to men and women, the team welcomes competitive and recreational gymnasts of all levels. There are about 14 active members who practice three to four days per week at Eagles Wings Athletics in Allen.

Throughout the year, they competed against other schools in the Midwest region, including Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Texas State and UT Austin, and were subsequently invited to participate in the national championship in Salt Lake City.

The group is part of the Club Sports program at the University.  Each club sport is formed, organized, managed and maintained by student leaders.  Other teams include bass fishing, bowling, fencing, Ju-Jutsu, longboard, mixed martial arts, paintball, rock climbing, roller hockey, rugby, swimming and table tennis.

Coach Fidel El-Aya said that the club has matured in its first year and that its members have inspired him.

“Ryan has a passion for the team and has done a great job leading them,” El-Aya said.  “Over the course of the season, I watched them transform into a competitive team.” 

For his part, Trompeter was grateful for the University’s support, which he believes helped the team enjoy success this year.

“The school has been behind us in our efforts to compete and grow as a club,” he said. “Club Sports has provided support and encouragement, as well as much needed funding to help us travel and compete.  Even though our organization is new, we’ve formed an amazing group of gymnasts of all levels who love the sport and are incredibly supportive of each other.”


Media Contact: Jenni Huffenberger, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2244, jennib@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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