“Great moments are born from great opportunities,” Herb Brooks, says to his team. It indeed takes a great deal to be a champion. This past February we recognized the 40th Anniversary of “The Miracle on Ice.”

Here in the Brownwood/Early area, we have a golden opportunity provided by SEAL Gymnastics that gives a child a place to grow strong physically and mentally. SEAL provides an opportunity to compete and learn about a winning spirit.

Parents of SEAL Gymnastics athletes will tell you, “SEAL Gymnastics is one of the reasons my child has accomplished what he/she has so far.” Robert and Kristin Wade, both graduates of Howard Payne University, chose to start SEAL Gymnastics in the Brownwood/Early area in 1992. What an impact this family has made in the lives of many children in this area for the past 28 years, and they continue to make an impact.

Many star athletes around this area have seized the opportunity offered by SEAL Gymnastics. The foundation at SEAL Gym is gymnastics; however, SEAL CheerZone is another opportunity at SEAL Gym. Cheer has become a new sport across the nation and many colleges/universities at all levels are offering scholarships in cheer.

Recently, SEAL has produced three champions from two different universities in the sport of cheer. (Libby Underwood, Oklahoma Baptist University, Kylar Mercer and Mason Reichenau, Tarleton State University)

Underwood, signed a National Letter of Intent with Oklahoma Baptist University her senior year of high school. OBU offers scholarships as a varsity sport for cheer. Her cheer team competes at the National Cheer Association for Colleges in Daytona Beach, Florida every April. Underwood's team won the All Girl Division II National Championship last year at Daytona. The team was recognized recently at a basketball game with championship rings.

Every cheer athlete’s dream is to Hit 0 on the bandshell; a stage on the beach that challenges your team! The heat and winds off the Atlantic Ocean make this the pinnacle of cheer! NCA has a saying, “The road to Daytona… the work is worth it!”

The OBU Cheer Team also competes in the newest and fastest growing cheer sport called STUNT. STUNT is the fastest growing girls cheer competition in the nation. The sport is 4 quarters, with each quarter consisting of seven plays. First quarter is partner stunts, second quarter is pyramids, third quarter is jumps and tumbling, fourth quarter is all of the other elements combined. For the past three years, OBU has been ranked in the top three at Nationals. The undefeated OBU STUNT Team is the 2020 Southwest Conference Champs beating Texas Tech, Oklahoma State University, University of Texas and many other schools in a four state area. STUNT Nationals were cancelled this year. This team is looking at the 2021 season to defend a conference title and go for the gold.

Mercer and Reichenau are also National Champions. They both cheer at Tarleton University. Tarleton Cheer Team won the Game Day Division of NCA in 2018. All three athletes cheered on the All Star SEAL CheerZone Teams.

After you win at Daytona, your team gets to run and take the plunge into the Atlantic Ocean to celebrate your victory! Every cheer athlete has a dream to make that plunge. Underwood, Mercer and Reichenau have lived it and definitely can confirm, “the work is worth it”.

NCA Nationals were cancelled this year so stay tuned to see what these athletes do in 2021.

A SEAL alumna that is making her mark in the area of Track and Field is Tuesdi Tidwell. She started SEAL Gym when she was 3 years old. Tidwell was on the competitive gym and cheer teams for many years. She fell in love with pole vaulting in Junior High and that is where tumbling has helped her make her mark. She signed a NLI with Baylor University her senior year. Her season like all the others was cut short this year. Wait to see what this athlete does in 2021.