Gymnasts from Baldwin, Thomas Jefferson form special bond with coaching moms
Monday, March 15, 2021 | 1:03 PM
There definitely was a family feel to the Premier Gym high school gymnastics program.
At the hub of it all was the venerable matriarch, Jodi Cummings, head coach of the Baldwin and Thomas Jefferson gymnastics teams.
Cummings, Becky Revo and Kristen Weber had the good fortune to be able to coach their daughters — Ashlyn, Leah and Anna — throughout their four-year high school gymnastics careers.
Ashlyn and Leah competed for Baldwin. Anna was a TJ gymnast.
A 2000 graduate and former gymnastics star at Baldwin, Jodi Cummings was able to perform double duty at Premier by coaching her daughter, Ashlyn.
Ashlyn Cummings is a senior cheerleader at Elizabeth Forward who practiced and competed at Premier for four years. She is the first gymnast to represent EF.
“Ashlyn just started gymnastics in high school although she has tumbled since she’s been little,” said Jodi, whose maiden name is Falcione. “Ashlyn knows everything about my gymnastics career. I think she has enjoyed watching me coach over the years, and that’s why she wanted to be part of it.
“I have really enjoyed coaching her. It’s a great feeling to see her participate and compete in a sport that I love and have devoted my life to. It’s been a wonderful experience to watch her enjoy a sport I love. And now she loves it.”
Ashlyn, who has a GPA around 4.4, owns a strong dance background. In gymnastics, she competed on floor, beam and vault.
“Not many people get to have their mom as their coach,” Ashlyn said, “but I am so glad she coaches me. Getting coached by my mom is great. The best thing about being coached by her was she knows me best. She knows how I am coached best, and she knows all of my abilities. She knows how I learn things best, and she has really helped me improve. I know that no matter how I did, she would be there to support me. The experience has been fun.”
Ashlyn and Jodi shared many memories in the gym over the years.
“I feel I almost know everything about my mom’s gymnastics career,” Ashlyn said. “She has told me many of her memories from when she was in high school gymnastics. I even use the same floor music she used. She has shown me pictures from when she was in gymnastics and when she started coaching it.”
Ashlyn has been dancing at Dance Workshop by Shari since she was 5.
“She’s been a part of their performance group, which performs around the community and helps raise money for St. Jude’s and Children’s Hospital,” said Jodi, who has two sons, Dillon, 12, and Ryan, 6.
Ashlyn said the floor event is her favorite. She has a natural knack for it.
“Floor is my favorite because I have danced my whole life and it carries over to gymnastics,” she said.
Kristen Weber graduated from Gettysburg High School in 1985 and competed in gymnastics with a private club. She volunteers as an assistant coach at Premier, and her coaching ties with her daughter, Anna, extend past high school.
“I have been coaching Anna in gymnastics since she was 4 years old,” Kristen said. “We moved up together through Premier’s youth programs and then on to Thomas Jefferson gymnastics.
“Our experience together has been amazing. We’ve created lifetime memories. We actually do a lot of gymnastics together. She knows a lot about my gymnastics, but more about my adult gymnastics venture.”
Anna competed in all four events and maintains a 4.2 GPA. She said it was an awesome experience to have been coached by her mother.
“I have absolutely loved sharing this sport with her because we both have such a strong passion for it,” Anna said. “It has been so amazing to have my biggest role model and supporter with me in the gym. The best part about being coached by my mom is the special bond this sport has created for us. I love that we both have such a strong passion for this sport.
“I am blessed to have had both my parents’ encouragement and support in gymnastics.”
Anna said her favorite event is beam — “because of how much body awareness and mental strength that is needed” — but her best event was vault.
At Thomas Jefferson, she is a member of the National Honor Society, French Club, AP Humanities, Big Jag Little Cub and homecoming committee. Anna also serves as vice president of her class and president of the Interact Club.
Taking first place on beam in the gold division at the 2020 Pennsylvania Classic was her greatest gymnastics achievement.
“This experience has been absolutely amazing,” Anna said. “I couldn’t imagine not having (Kristen) with me during my 14-year journey. She always pushes me to be the best I can be, so sometimes it does get tough. Nonetheless, it has been awesome to have my mom as my coach.
“My mom and I love talking about her gymnastics career and how I remind her so much of herself.”
Gymnastics may be a lifelong commitment for Anna; her mother Kristen still participates in the sport.
“I do adult gymnastics,” Kristen said. “It’s my passion and the best way I find to exercise.”
Kristen also has a son, Alex, who is a Pitt-Johnstown student and member of the Navy Reserves.
Becky Revo, whose maiden name is Deakin, graduated from Baldwin in 1995 and was an assistant coach for the school’s team while in college for four years. She has continued as an assistant for the past eight seasons.
“Coaching my daughter is enjoyable most of the time, but there are moments of frustration,” Becky said. “The experience has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me. When she has a good practice, it feels great to see her progress. When she is struggling, it really breaks my heart to see her upset. I keep reminding her of how much she has accomplished in a short amount of time.”
Leah Revo also is a member of the girls swim team at Baldwin. She decided to join the gymnastics program this year and competed on floor, bars and vault. She is not a fan of the beam. Her routines on bars and vault were her best.
“Starting gymnastics this year was frustrating at times, but it’s something new and I really enjoyed it,” Leah said. “This being my first year, my goal was just to make it through my events.
“My mom knows my skill level, and she knows what I can and cannot do.”
Leah, who has a 3.6 GPA, has been on Baldwin’s swim team for four years. The 50-yard freestyle is her favorite event.
“When Leah was younger, she was in my acrobatics class I taught at a dance school for about five years,” Becky said. “But then her focus was on swimming.
“Leah does know about my gymnastics career and has recently been asking more about it. I have been coaching since before she was born, so she knows it is one of my passions.”
What has Leah discovered about her mom’s gymnastics career?
“She started gymnastics when she was young and did it all through high school and went to states a couple of times,” Leah said.
Becky’s son Eric died of cancer in May of 2008 when he was 7.
“Leah and Eric were close,” Becky said, “and I know she misses him.”
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