SOUTHINGTON — Brynn Freehling has been around gymnastics her entire life.
Her parents Brock and Roberta own Connecticut Gymnastics Academy in Wallingford. Her big sister Riley was a Division I gymnast at the University of New Hampshire.
Brynn started in the sport at age 2 and was competing by age 6. Now 18 and graduating Southington High School, the younger Freehling is going to Division I West Virginia University as a business student and walk-on gymnast.
“I love the sport and the friends I’ve made in it,” Freehling said. “It’s helped me push through hard times. My experience and lessons from gymnastics have helped me in my life outside of the sport, as well. It’s nice having the whole family at the gym and my dad and sister coaching me. It’s helped me push harder.”
Brynn Freehling became a Level 10 gymnast when she was a freshman in high school. Under the tutelage of her father, Brynn competed in Nationals in 2018 and 2019. She also helped lead Connecticut Gymnastics Academy to the Level 10 state championship this year for the first time in more than a decade.
In making her college choice, Freehling also weighed interest from Central Michigan, Maryland, Arizona State and New Hampshire.
“This was always my goal,” Brynn said of competing in gymnastics in college. “I’m super-excited to meet the new girls and start a whole new chapter.”
It has been a trying year for Freehling. She had ulnar reduction surgery on her left wrist last May.
“I had a few millimeters or so taken off my ulnar,” Freehling explained. “I couldn’t put my hand down because it was painful. I’m still getting back into it. Because of my injury, I didn’t go to Nationals, but I'm excited about how I did. Now it’s about letting my body rest and being completely prepared for college.”
Freehling returned to action in February after a nine-month hiatus. She did her part in CGA’s Level 10 state crown.
Her best event is floor.
“It’s my favorite because of the music and dancing and showing emotion,” Brynn said. “It feels freeing and I enjoy the powerful tumbling, and it’s fun having your teammates cheer you on the whole time. I think it's fun.”
Brock Freehling confirmed his daughter excels in floor exercise.
“She’s an awesome dancer who can captivate an audience,” he said. “Her tumbling is exceptional and she really moves well on the floor. A lot of times other coaches are watching her in awe. She grew up in the gym and developed that sense of confidence on the floor, and you can see it when she competes.”
Freehling said he’s proud of his daughter for her accomplishments.
“You feel such pride having one of your gymnasts graduate and going on to compete in college,” he said. “As a father, it takes it to a different level.”
There has been ample reason to celebrate at CGA this year. In the state championships held at Thames Valley Gymnastics in North Franklin last month, the club finished first as a team in Level 7, 8, 9 and 10.
Individually, CGA garnered 38 gold medals, 20 silvers and 25 bronze. The club had 10 all-around champs and five Super Team members for Level 7 and 8.
At the next round — regionals — CGA’s Level 4 and 6 teams took first place, sported 10 all-around champs and pocketed 34 gold medals, 21 silver and 38 bronze.
That was April 10-11 in Plainville. Last weekend, in the Level 9 and 10 Regional Championships at Springfield’s MassMutual Center, CGA had four all-around champs, 15 gold medals, 10 silvers and 16 bronze.
Six of the club’s Level 9 gymnasts qualified for the Eastern National Championships, which will be held in Atlanta May 7-9. Those athletes are Alexa D'Andrea, Nicole Dementyev, Megan Dzialo, Rachel Levy, Maisyn Rader and Abby Scherban.
Three Level 10 gymnasts from CGA — Safia Elmammann, Umi Elmammann and Ruthuja Nataraj, the Sheehan senior going to the University of Illinois — have qualified for the Nationals that will be held May15-16 in Daytona Beach.
The Level 7 and 8 regionals will be taking place this weekend.