The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

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Emma Charles making her mark

Photo submitted to The Simpsonian
Charles had an impressive season, especially for a first-year.

Simpson’s second-ever gymnastics team is making history. Emma Charles is the team’s first national qualifier. She earned an at-large bid to compete on vault at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) National Championships on March 23 in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.

Charles, a first-year on the Simpson College Women’s Gymnastics team, received her at-large bid to compete against 19 others in early March. At the championships, she competed on vault and earned a score of 9.150. Charles said, “Being there was the biggest highlight of the weekend.”

On Thursday, March 21, Charles began her travels to Pennsylvania. Friday was a practice day, and Saturday was competition day. She was the last one to compete in all the rotations.

Since she was by herself, many of the teams at the competition were very welcoming and ‘adopted’ her as one of their own.

Throughout her season, Charles won three vault and two beam titles. Winning one of each at her second-ever collegiate meet as well as tying the program record on bars and beam. At a later meet, she won a second vault title with a season-high score of 9.750, which also tied the program’s top mark in the event.

At the beginning of February, with a score of 9.225, Charles officially became the record holder for Simpson gymnastics on bars.

Charles had an impressive season, especially for a first-year.

In the most recent update on the Simpson Athletics page, Women’s Gymnastics head coach Emily Barrett-Payne said, “I’m incredibly proud of Emma for representing our young program on the big stage. To qualify for nationals, especially as a freshman, is a huge accomplishment. We’re looking forward to bringing back what we learned this weekend to the entire team so we can learn and grow more next season.”

When finding out the news of receiving an at-large bid, Charles was home. She was so excited that she screamed. She said, “We weren’t sure if it was going to happen since it was such a large spot.” When telling her parents, coach and teammates, they were all very supportive and excited for her.

Her favorite memory from the season was spending time with the team. She said, “Growing up, I didn’t have a big team, so having a lot of people made the experience that much more positive.”

Although competing at the college level was a lot different, it was also a lot more exciting and had a lot more energy.

This year, Simpson was only eligible to earn an at-large bid but will be competing for the regional qualifier spots as part of the west region in 2025. Charles is excited to go with the whole team next year.


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