Anniston Brown secures top-10 finish at GHSA State Championship Gymnastics Meet

Published 7:59 pm Thursday, April 25, 2024

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Freshman Bainbridge Gymcat Anniston Brown has solidified herself as a top-10 high school gymnast in Georgia.

Brown competed in the GHSA Gymnastics State Championship meet on April 18, where she finished 8th in the floor event. Although she didn’t come home with a trophy, going toe to toe with the best gymnasts in Georgia was a goal for Brown this season.

“Yes, she was upset, she felt like she could have done more, and, you know, we had a long week, but she said, ‘Hey, I made it here. I’m in the midst of the best of the best,’” said Shirah Brown, Brown’s mother and the Gymcats’ team mom. “That kind of gave me chills because this kid has been through it all, and she’s beat herself up for it, but then again, she turns around and says, ‘I made it. That was my main goal, and here I am.’”

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Brown competed against a field of competition that seemed to be about “ninety percent seniors,” according to Shirah Brown. She said for her daughter to make it to the state competition as a freshman is an accomplishment on its own. 

“She’s got that fight, and she wants to be the best,” Shirah Brown said. “I was proud of her.”

Dhara and Bansi Patel, Brown’s Gymcat teammates, traveled with her to the Atlanta meet to cheer her on. Shirah Brown said their support was invaluable.

“They were so supportive and had her back every step of the way,” Shirah Brown said. “It’s hard to go out there on your own and compete, but when you’ve got somebody there cheering you on, it helps a lot.”

The three have been competing together from a young age, and Shirah Brown said that bond is a large part of the team’s identity.

“They started competing together when they were four years old,” Shirah Brown said. “They’ve grown up throughout the years together… they’re more like family than teammates.”

Brown lives and breathes gymnastics. When she’s not at practice five days a week, she’s at home watching gymnastics videos to improve her craft. 

“I see the hours she puts in,” Shirah Brown said. “The hard work, the dedication. I mean, it’s tough, and she doesn’t back down.”

“She’s so strong-willed and knows what she wants and goes out and tries to achieve it,” Shirah Brown said. “When you’re putting the hours in the gym five days a week, then when you get home… she’s still, ‘Let me look at these videos and see what else I can do to improve.’” 

She also puts a focus on outside conditioning, eating a beneficial diet and keeping her mind right. 

“On the weekends when she’s not at the gym, she’s either at the Y working out, conditioning to keep her body in the proper fit that she needs to be, along with, you know, making healthy choices,” Shirah Brown said. “Gymnastics is not only strength, it’s also mental, so she has a little journal. She has her moments of downtime where she’s reading her Bible and things like that.”

Above all, Brown thanks God for her ability.

“This is a gift that she’s been given, and she works hard to give God the glory,” Shirah Brown said.