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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Leah Spinney sticks the landing and commits to Springfield College for gymnastics

Provided by Spinney
Spinney in action during a WA Gymnastics meet.

Working towards a goal for over 15 years is not a feat just anyone can achieve. It takes an immense amount of commitment, passion, and dedication. For senior gymnast Leah Spinney, however, a task like this was achievable. Along with the hard work that came with her gymnastics journey, she also earned herself a commitment to Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Spinney made her official commitment to Springfield College next fall on March 3, and she will be a part of their six-year physical therapy program where she will get her major.

For Spinney, gymnastics has been her life since before she could remember. Although she was only on the WA Gymnastics team for her junior and senior year, she has been a part of club teams and competing since she was six. Before that, Spinney started gymnastics when she was two.

For Spinney, her ambition has been motivated by many things, such as her love for gymnastics and her helpful teammates. Just recently, something else has driven her ambition; earning the title of co-captain for WA in her senior year.

“I’ve loved being a captain this year and having that role model part on the team,” Spinney said. “I love helping the underclassmen and my other teammates reach their full potential and gain confidence in themselves.” 

Spinney was co-captain along with two other seniors on the team, Maggie Murphy and Karina Wills. Both girls think very highly of Spinney and collaborate well together. 

“She’s always cheering me on and pushing me to be the best I can,” Murphy said. “Even when mistakes happen, she gets right back up and is flawless.”

As for the offer from Springfield College, once Spinney got it, there was no question about where she was committing for her next steps in life.

Springfield offers a six-year physical therapy program, so after completion, Spinney would graduate with a doctorate in physical therapy. This aligns with exactly what she was looking for. Along with this, Springfield is not too big of a school and provides a tight-knit community. Being able to do gymnastics while she is there was the last piece that really pushed Spinney towards her official commitment.

“Springfield was definitely my top choice and once I got into the PT [Physical Therapy] program, I was ready to go there,” Spinney said. “I had been in communication with the coach and once she said she was going to offer me a spot on the team, I was like that’s perfect, that’s definitely where I want to go.” 

During Spinney’s two years on the WA team, she formed special bonds with her teammates as well as her coach, Stephanie Coburn. Coburn has been a gymnastics coach at WA for 14 seasons, and has coached Spinney for the entirety of her two years on the team. 

“I’m very happy for her [Spinney], she has worked very hard to get to where she is,” Coburn said. “She is very determined and very dedicated. I think she has done amazing.” 

Coburn also had the pleasure of watching Spinney improve dramatically in her skills, especially on bars. This dedication, along with her attitude towards the sport, is what made her such a high performing gymnast and candidate for Springfield College. 

“Her skills on bars from last season to this season are huge,” Coburn said. “Her start value went up like four times, which is huge on bars. Even on beam, she shared the highest two scores compared from last season to this season.” 

Although gymnastics is one of her favorite things to do, Spinney has had many obstacles that she has needed to overcome. Though she has been fortunate enough not to experience any harsh injuries, there is still a strong mental challenge that comes with gymnastics. 

“Gymnastics is a very mental sport, and so a lot of it is you have to not be scared to go for certain skills,” Spinney said. “There have definitely been times where I’ve been setback by fear, so that’s been a very big obstacle to overcome.”

According to Spinney, motivation from her teammates and Coburn is a major external asset that helps her tame these fears. Internally, breaking down the steps in her head and taking it slow is what diminishes the fear. 

To secure this offer from Springfield, Spinney has had many accomplishments, both recently and throughout her gymnastics career. 

Spinney has qualified for regionals for three years in a row, and for the New England Championships for the last two years. Last year for the New England Girls’ Gymnastics Championship, she qualified for bars and beam, and this year she qualified for bars. This led her to be the 2023 all-around state champion, as well as the bars and beam state champion. 

Spinney also received the honor of representing WA on the Massachusetts Senior National team this year. Twenty seniors from different schools in the state are chosen to represent themselves each year, and this year, Spinney has been a lucky recipient of a spot.

Spinney will continue to do club gymnastics until the end of the school year, then go on to represent WA on the Massachusetts Senior National team in Florida. For now, she is focused on improving her skills for her club team, as well as finishing off the school year strong.

Leaving with such big things ahead of her is a bittersweet feeling for Spinney’s teammates, co-captains, and coach. Although it is sad for them to part ways, they are all excited to watch Spinney achieve amazing things in the future with her PT Doctorate, as well as gymnastics at Springfield. 

“I’ve been doing this long enough that I get a little sad about them leaving and I get more excited for them,” Coburn said. “I follow her [Spinney] on Instagram so I’ll make sure to keep up with her. I’m not so much sad that she’s leaving but more excited for the new adventure ahead of her, and I know she’ll do great.”

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About the Contributor
Penelope Zambrana
Penelope Zambrana, Staff Writer
Hi, my name is Penelope Zambrana and I’m a sophomore at Westford Academy, as well as a staff writer on the Ghostwriter. In my free time I like to read, listen to music, and I enjoy traveling as well. In the summer I also love going to the beach, and in the winter I like to ski. This is my first year in journalism so I’m very excited to discover what it’s like and learn about it.

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