Providence wins state gymnastics title
Championship is the fourth in school history

ATLANTA - It had been a long time since Providence Christian fielded a gymnastics team, but the revived program made some history Friday night at Westminster.

The Stars won the fourth Georgia High School Association state title in school history, returning from a 10-year hiatus to win the state gymnastics title. They also became the first Gwinnett team to win a state championship in the sport.

"It's awesome," said Providence junior Michelle Shealy, who won the all-around championship. "This is the first time we've even had a team in 10 years. To come back and win was amazing. It was awesome and it was so nice to have a big Providence crowd supporting us."

Shealy and her teammates - fellow junior Melanie Blackburn, senior Devon Young and freshman Trystien Charles - really opened up their lead on the floor exercise. Shealy led the way with an incredible perfect 10 on the floor.

"I don't know if a 10's ever happened in the state high school meet, but if it has, it's extremely rare," Providence coach Gwyn Puckett said. "It was a phenomenal routine."

"It was my best floor routine ever," Shealy said.

Shealy also won the beam with a 9.7. The Iowa State commitment was second on the vault (9.825) and bars (9.7), sporting a 39.225 score to easily beat runner-up Lindsey Cheek of Oconee County (38.8).

Providence finished with 109.25 points for a comfortable victory over runner-up Milton (108.625) and third-place Walton (107.775). The Class A school competed with five other teams in the finals and all were AAAAA schools.

The Stars' last GHSA state title was a win by the girls soccer team in 2007. The other two state titles were also in girls sports - soccer in 1999 and softball in 2000.

But Friday night's win was a first for a program that hadn't been around since 1999.

"Just to have been in the state championships, we were excited about that," Puckett said. "But to win, that was just wonderful. I'm just so proud of them. It was such a fun night. They did their very best."