FORT MYERS, Fla — Graduating from high school sends Katie Bloomston leaping towards her dream. The 17-year-old has spent a decade working towards becoming a college gymnast. Now she’s heading to the University of Bridgeport for Gymnastics.
Katie said it all started with cheerleading while living in Columbus, Ohio. But her mom had other plans for her.
“She knew that I needed more than just cheerleading and that it wasn’t going to be enough or me,” Katie said.
So she pushed her to test out gymnastics, and Katie fell in love with it. She started training and even got to be around one of the greatest in the sport.
“I actually used to train with Gabby Douglas in Ohio,” Katie said. “She was a big inspiration to me because I was actually around her.”
Inspired and motivated, Katie worked hard and trained 30 something hours a week. Her training continued in Florida at Coast Elite Gymnastics Academy in Fort Myers.
Catherine Curtis and Dave Zwiefelhofer own the gym, and it has been thriving for 28 years. They have produced level 10 national champions, competitors in the Pan Am Games and World Championships, and USA Gymnastics National team members.
As a Fort Myers High School senior, Katie’s hard work can also be seen off the Mat.
“I’m in all IB classes. I’m in six IB classes, and I have a 4.9 GPA,” Katie said.
And now she’s heading to Connecticut on an academic and athletic scholarship. Katie tells FOX 4 accomplishing her dreams wasn’t easy. She faced a few setbacks. She had some minor and some major injuries like breaking her elbow more than once.
But that didn’t stop the five-foot-tall gymnast. Teresina Lemons is one of Katie’s coaches at Coast Elite. She says Katie has improved since she started their program.
“I’m impressed daily on how her work ethic and how hard she works to be the best that she can,” Coach Lemons said. “You can see how hard she works…you see how many turns she takes and that’s what it takes.”
For the past ten years, the gym has had gymnasts go off to college on scholarships. And Katie says it’s their hard work that got her where she is.
“My coaches have done the most for me. They got me this scholarship. They did everything they possibly could to get me to where I am right now,” Katie said.
She will join other Coast Elite Alumni, including Ball State University gymnast Marissa Nychyk, Mizzou graduate Aspen Tucker, and University of Alabama senior Lexi Graber.
Along with her coaches, she’s also thankful for her family, friends, and teachers. And despite a graduation season that looks nothing like what she once picture Katie says it’s not the time to stop chasing her dream.