The Norman Transcript

November 25, 2012

Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy trio going D-1

Amanda Turner
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Three gymnasts from Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy in Norman recenlty signed their National Letters of Intent to compete for Division I universities.

Gymnasts Katie Brown, Reagan Hemry and Mackenzie Valentin, all 17, signed their official letters in front of their families, their coaches Christian Ivanov and Coral Borda, as well as Olympic champions Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci. 

“This is the first time in the club’s history that three gymnasts from the same class are headed to Division I colleges, a major milestone for us,” said Conner, who competed for the Sooners from 1977-1981.

Brown and Valentin both began gymnastics at BCGA at age 3, while Hemry joined the club at age 9 when her family moved to Oklahoma from Colorado. 

Brown, a straight-A student at Norman North High School and president of the school’s National Honor Society chapter, is headed to Utah State University. Her mother, Sherry, was in attendance to watch her daughter sign her letter of intent. Brown’s father, Michael Brown, passed away July 21 after an extended illness. He was an ardent supporter of his daughter’s dream, never missing a competition.

“Signing day was a day I’ve been looking forward to my entire gymnastics career, all 14 years of it, and it was everything I could’ve hoped for,” Brown said. “God has blessed me immensely with this opportunity and even more so with the incredible people I get to share my life with, here and at my future home at Utah State.”

Reagan Hemry, Norman High School student, will be joining the powerful Sooners at the University of Oklahoma in the fall of 2013. She is the daughter of Tom and Heidi Hemry; she has younger sisters Faith, a Level 7 gymnast at BCGA, and Camille.

“It feels so good to finally sign with OU, and officially commit to the school that will be my home and the team that will be my family,” Hemry said.

Hemry was one of five gymnasts who officially committed to the Sooners during the signing period.

“I know Reagan’s passion and drive will motivate her teammates,” said OU gymnastics head coach K.J. Kindler. “I know she is elated to be a Sooner and I have no doubt that she will contribute to our team in every facet.”

Mackenzie Valentin, an honor student Veritas Classical Academy, will be competing for the University of Arizona. She is the daughter of Dennis and Toni Valentin, and her younger sister, Micayla, is also a Level 9 gymnast at BCGA.

“I am so lucky to have opportunity to compete for Arizona in a sport that I love, but I am even luckier to have had my friends and family there to support me and share in my excitement,” Valentin said.

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