The West Virginia University gymnastics coaching staff announced on Monday that Ellen Collins, Gillian Fletcher and Nicole Norris will join the program this fall.
Collins joins the Mountaineers from Clearfield, Pennsylvania, where she is a three-year level 10 gymnast for Tracy Longenecker and Jennifer Bortz at Centre Elite Gymnastics.
Collins has qualified for the Level 10 Region 7 Championships every year, as well as the Pennsylvania State Championships. She most recently finished as high as 15th on vault at the 2019 Region 7 Championships. That same season, she earned a trio of top-10 finishes at the Pennsylvania State Championships, placing as high as seventh on floor exercise.
In 2018, Collins placed ninth on floor at the Region 7 Championships. Heading into regionals, she posted a pair of top-15 finishes at the 2018 Pennsylvania State Championships, tying for 12th on vault and placing 14th on floor.
Additionally, Collins placed first on vault at the 2020 Arizona Sunrays Classic Rock Invitational, which is a part of the Nastia Liukin Cup Series – a competitive opportunity for the country’s top Junior Olympic gymnasts. She also is set to compete at this year’s Pikes Peak Cup on floor after placing first in 2019, which also is a Nastia Liukin Cup qualifying event.
The daughter of Scott and Elizabeth Collins, she intends to major in biology at WVU. Elizabeth was a multi-event specialist for the WVU gymnastics program from 1988-91, and holds the all-time program record for career meets competed in (58). Additionally, her father put West Virginia wrestling in the national spotlight in 1991, when he became the first Mountaineer grappler to win a national championship and guided WVU to a sixth-place team finish at the NCAA Tournament, still the highest finish in program history.
“I chose WVU because the coaching staff and team were so welcoming,” Collins said. “I also visited the campus frequently while growing up, and it felt like home to me.”
“Ellen has an incredible work ethic,” Mountaineer associate head coach Travis Doak said. “She is very athletic and continues to improve her skill level each season. She has such an enthusiasm for WVU since both her parents were athletes here. We are excited to have her as part of the team, and we’re excited to see her impact.”
* * * * * *
Fletcher comes to Morgantown from Seneca, South Carolina, where she is a three-year level 10 gymnast for Talene Amirkhanian and Amber Hansen at Upstate Gymnastics.
Fletcher was most recently named an alternate for the 2019 Junior Olympic National Championships. Prior to the meet, Fletcher earned a trio of top-10 showings at the 2019 Region 8 Championships, including a tie for sixth place on vault, an eighth-place finish on balance beam and a 10th-place finish in the all-around.
In 2018, Fletcher earned a share of the floor title at the South Carolina State Championships and was named the runner-up on the uneven bars, vault and in the all-around. She also placed third on beam. At the 2018 Region 8 Championships, Fletcher finished in a tie for seventh on vault.The daughter of Steve and Melissa Fletcher, she intends to major in human nutrition and foods at WVU.
“West Virginia had everything I was looking for, academically and athletically,” Fletcher said. “They have a beautiful campus, my major and coaches that were fun and exciting. I know they can push me to become a better gymnast.”
“We are really excited about Gillian because she doesn’t have a weak event,” Doak said. “She is one of those athletes who we are expecting to turn heads during her collegiate career. Gillian has an array of skills and makes the sport look easy. She immediately meshed with the team and coaching staff, so we see her making an easy transition here at WVU. ”
* * * * * *
Norris, a native of Hanover, Pennsylvania, is a three-year level 10 gymnast for Minyoung Kwon and Lisa Pratt at Hanover Gymnastics, which is the same club that classmate Chloe Asper competed for. Norris has qualified for regionals every year as a level 10 gymnast.
She earned a pair of top-15 finishes at the 2019 Region 7 Championships, placing 14th on bars and tying for 14th on beam. She led into the meet with a stellar showing at the Pennsylvania State Championships, earning a fifth-place finish on bars and placing ninth on beam and in the all-around.
In 2018, Norris won the bars title at the Region 7 Championships after tying for second at the Pennsylvania State Championships in the meet prior. Additionally, she placed fourth on bars at the 2017 Region 7 Championships.
The daughter of Matt and Charlene Norris, she intends to major in biology at WVU.
“I chose WVU because it was everything that I could have asked for in a school,” Norris said. “Throughout my college search, I had a pretty clear idea of what I was looking for in a college, and the longer I talked with Jason (Butts) and Travis (Doak), the more I realized that West Virginia was the place I belonged. I chose WVU because of the amazing coaching staff, the great team vibe and the overall atmosphere.”
“Nicole seems to be a perfect fit for WVU Gymnastics,” Doak said. “One of her favorite and strongest events is bars, which is one area where we are looking to improve the most this season, so it was a natural fit. Additionally, she has shown to a be a great competitor on all the events, and she is very team oriented.”