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Coach Cunningham Causes Gymnastics Scandal

Coach Cunningham breaks the news to the unhappy girls. Photo: Jill Rawls

It is late on Monday night and Head Coach Steve Cunningham sits in the dark, hacking into the National High School Gymnastics score database. But his work is not quite as surreptitious as he had intended. Caught red-handed after boosting each girl’s all-around score by a full point, Coach Cunningham was forced to inform the team that the Georgia High School Association ordered the immediate and permanent termination of the team.

“Our girls are so talented this year, and with just a few more points, our whole team would have qualified for preliminaries in the first meet,” said Coach Cunningham. “But don’t get me wrong, I know I made an awful mistake.” While this year’s team had a lot of potential, it has been a long time since the full team has made it past the regular season of competition, and Coach Cunningham wanted to guarantee that this didn’t happen again.

Senior Hannah Schrager seems to be taking the news the hardest. “This was supposed to be my year to shine,” said Schrager, the sole senior on the team. Her love for the sport piqued her interest in joining the Vanderbilt University gymnastics team next year. “Now Vanderbilt won’t get to see my skills, and I’ll never make it onto their team,” said Schrager. “I can’t imagine not continuing my gymnastics career into college.” Schrager had previously arranged for the Vanderbilt gymnastics scouting team to visit one of her meets, and she was mortified when she had to notify the Commodores to cancel their visit.

All eight girls on the team are disappointed that they will no longer have a spring sport. Freshman Casey Shoulberg, however, is determined to still receive a varsity letter for the season. “I’m planning on talking to Coach Guthrie about joining the varsity lacrosse team a little late,” said Shoulberg. “I’ve never played before, but I pick up sports really quickly.”

“I would like to apologize to all of the team members and families affected,” said Coach Cunningham. “With the loss of my team, I have definitely learned my lesson.”