Highland’s Lizzy Ryan 24th at gymnastics championship

By Mike Zummo
Posted 6/18/24

Lizzy Ryan, or at the very least her hands, had a terrible gymnastics season.

It didn’t affect her performance, however, as she finished 24th at the Level 10 Senior A Women’s …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Highland’s Lizzy Ryan 24th at gymnastics championship


Lizzy Ryan, or at the very least her hands, had a terrible gymnastics season.

It didn’t affect her performance, however, as she finished 24th at the Level 10 Senior A Women’s Development Program National championships on May 11 and 12 at the Volusia County Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Fla.

“I had ripped my hands open numerous times,” said Ryan, a junior at Highland High School. “So, I was only able to do, instead of the 50-bar routines that everybody else did going into nationals, I probably only did 15. My coach says they were like hamburger meat. That was very painful.”

Her highest score came on the balance beam where she tied for 18th with a score of 9.450. Her second highest finish came on the uneven bars, which despite her injured hands, she scored a 9.4.

“They weren’t tiny rips that I was just being a baby about,” Ryan said. “They were bloody to the point where my blood was on the bar. If they used a UV light, they would definitely find my blood all over.”

She had a higher score on the floor with a 9.425, but she finished tied for 29th there and was tied for 39th on the vault with a score of 9.325. She finished with an all-around score of 37.600.

Ryan is a Level 10 gymnast, the highest level in the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympics program. About 1,800 Level 10 gymnasts compete in the U.S. during the season and 900 make it to their respective state championships. Another 300 make it to regionals, and out of those 300, only 56 go to nationals.

“It definitely means a lot of college exposure,” Ryan said. “In the (Division I) world, that’s what they’re looking for. People who choose the Elite (path) have to make it through nationals first. Those girls are the ones trying to go to the Olympics right now but being one of those 56 is a very difficult thing to do because you have to be able to do our very best one day.”

This year wasn’t the first time Ryan had qualified for nationals. She would have gone two years ago, but she hurt herself at the regional meet. She was more nervous at this year’s regional meet because success there meant a trip to nationals.

“It was definitely less nerve-wracking than regionals because in the back of your mind, there is nothing else after this,” Ryan said. “This is the grand finale. This is where you want to make it, but obviously you want to do good because you want to make it into a college, so I was pretty nervous going into it because it was such a big meet.”

And she calmed herself down and did fine, showing that the work pays off.

She’s already had some college interest as one of the coaches from the University of West Virigina came and watched practice to express interest.

She’s also been in contact with Penn State, North Carolina State, the University of Illinois, Yale, and Washington University, among others.
She knows exactly what she’s looking for.

“The culture of the program is a very important thing,” Ryan said. “If I’m going to go away and perform for the college, I want to enjoy the coaches and enjoy the girls, so that’s a very important factor.”

Even with nationals behind her, she trains five days per week at ENA Gymnastics in Paramus, N.J., for about 20 hours per week. That doesn’t include the 10 hours per week she spends in the car driving between Paramus and Highland.

“This sport has taught me a lot of things,” Ryan said. “I think that’s why I enjoy it so much, not because of the fact that I get to go and do flips and just do these really cool things. But more because it’s given me structure. It’s given me stress. It’s given me enjoyment. It’s taught me a lot of things that I definitely don’t think I would have learned without it.”