Gym Terps Announce 2012 Signees
Nov. 16, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - University of Maryland gymnastics head coach Brett Nelligan announced the signings of Emily Brauckmuller, Leah Slobodin, Sarah Faller and Nicole Dragon to National Letters of Intent Friday. The four member class will begin competing for the Terps in the 2013-14 season.
"This is an incredible class," said Nelligan. "We're extremely excited to welcome four new Terps to the Maryland gymnastics family.
"This is a complete class. They cover all four events and complement each other's strengths. I expect them to make an immediate impact on the competition floor. Each one of these student-athletes has what it takes to be a Terp, both as a gymnast and in the classroom."
Brauckmuller, an Auburndale, Fla., native, trains at Orlando Metro Gymnastics. Brauckmuller swept every event at the 2012 Magical Invitational meet in Orlando, leading to qualification in the Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup in New York. Brauckmuller competed in the 2012 U.S. Junior Olympic National Championships placing sixth in the all-around competition and on floor, while placing 10th on beam.
In addition, Brauckmuller placed second at the Florida state championships leading her to receive the Polk County Female Amateur Athlete of the Year award in 2012.
"Emily is a true all-around gymnast," said Nelligan. "She possesses that rare combination of both power and grace."
Slobodin has qualified for the J.O. National Championships four times and placed fifth on balance beam at the 2012 meet. The Alexandria, Va., native trains at the Capital Gymnastics National Training Center and placed first in floor exercise and second all-around at the 2012 state championships. Slobodin placed first in both all-around and on beam at the 2012 Capital Cup, and she won first on balance beam and third in all-around at the 2012 Gliders Invitational. As a student, Slobodin has been on the all-A honor roll the past three years and is a member of the National Honors Society.
"Leah is an explosive gymnast and performs some of the most difficult skills in the nation on both floor and vault, as well as being highly ranked on beam."
Faller trains at Sonshine Gymnastics in Holly Springs, N.C. The six-time North Carolina state champion has also qualified for the Junior Olympic National Championships five times including twice as a Level 10 qualifier. She finished 16th in the all-around at J.O. Nationals in 2012.
Faller won uneven bars and the all-around at the Jim Gault Invitational in 2012. She placed first on vault, bars and beam at the 2012 Gasparilla Classic, and finished third all-around at the state championships.
"Sarah is such an expressive gymnast. Fans will love to watch her on all four events as she makes everything look effortless."
Dragon, also a competitor at the Junior Olympic National Championships, placed fifth on balance beam. The Woodcliff Lake, N.J., native placed fourth in the floor exercise at the 2012 state championships.
Dragon, who trains at Galaxy Gymnastics, placed first on beam at every invitational she competed in for the 2011 season, including the state championship. As a student, Dragon has a 4.1 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society.
"Nikki's beam and floor are second to none. She can be a dominant competitor in the ACC on both events."
The Junior Olympics National Championships boasts approximately 450 of this country's best level-10 gymnasts. These athletes compete at the highest level in the Junior Olympic Gymnastics program, just under the elite level.The Terps begin their season with the Red & Black Intrasquad meet on Friday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at Comcast Pavilion.