Determination, discipline and perseverance are what define an athlete, and Ashley Wilson knows just how much of each it takes to succeed in the sport of gymnastics.
The Copperas Cove Junior High seventh-grader dedicates long hours to thousands of repetitions for each skill, competitions on weekends away from friends and family, and of course, battling minor injuries inherent to the sport.
As a member of the Royals gymnastics team at GymKix, Ashley said she spends 16 hours a week in the gym and faces defending her state championship title May 9.
As a competitive gymnast, Ashley’s favorite event is the floor exercise. During the state championship meet in 2013, she was awarded the all-around title for vault, bars, beam and floor exercise as a “level six” — her greatest achievement so far, she said.
left arm in cast
But now, Ashley is not sure if she will be able to compete. Her left arm is in a cast and the question is: Will she be healed in time to take to the mat?
“I have hurt myself before, but not this bad. The doctors don’t know if it is broken or fractured,” she said.
Head coach Cory Smith said Ashley has battled back before. Earlier this year, she was stricken with mononucleosis that prevented her from training for more than 30 days.
Smith said the day after the doctor cleared Ashley to train, she attended a competition in Whitney.
By sheer determination, she completed all four events and achieved the qualifying score required to advance to the optional level of gymnastics.
“The average athlete could not have accomplished what she did to overcome that illness so fast, let alone achieve what she did at that meet. She went there determined to reach her goal and walked away qualified for the next level,” Smith said.
Ashley has been involved in gymnastics since age 2 and was one of the founding Royals team members in 2009.
She is a member of the GymKix Junior Staff program where she has taught recreational gymnastics classes three times a week for the last two years.
She even coaches her younger sister in the program.
“Before she always thought of me as her big sister and that she did not have to listen to me. But the coaching has actually brought us closer,” Ashley said.