The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media


Nampel’s got grace

Junior gymnast, Ellie Nampel, has been competing in competitive gymnastics all of her life, her skills show the talent she has accumulated throughout her years of hard work.
Hannah Barczak

The sport of gymnastics tests an athlete’s strength, grace and body control, which is a task most are not able to perform. Junior Ellie Nampel, on the other hand, is praised for her talent in these three fields. Throughout Nampel’s career she has been congratulated for her beautiful form. From when she first started gymnastics to now, each coach has commented on how straight her legs are and how well she points her toes, as well as her ability to overcome challenges.

For many gymnasts, form is a major setback. Athletes tend to have bigger issues with the minor details in their sport. In gymnastics this could be shown through not pointing your toes, having a weak stance, not standing up straight, lacking tumbling skills and other tricks and dismounts which require precision.

Coaching gymnastics for 40 years, Debbie Bessette, who competed for the Dutch National Team and won two world championships; Fort Worth, Texas and Moscow, Russia, is Nample’s original gymnastics coach who has been coaching her from the very beginning and followed her all the way through.

“Ellie was three years old when I started coaching her,” Bessette said. “I still coach her at my gym when she is not doing high school gymnastics or track.”

Story continues below advertisement

From sticking with Nampel over time, Bessette has seen her change throughout the years and continues to help her perfect her technique and become a stronger gymnast. 

“I struggled a lot [with mental blocks] when I was younger,” Nampel said. “I would just get in my head and then I couldn’t do certain tasks.”

Nampel stated that it was her first coach, Bessette, who really helped her to overcome her issues and allowed her to become more comfortable in her abilities and desire to attempt new tricks. With the initial mental block healed, it was time for Nampel to begin her high school career.

District 117’s gymnastics coach, D1 University of Illinois gymnastics alumni Chris Patton has gathered a talented group of girls to coach. This is only Nampel’s second year on the gymnastics team for the high school, but in her short time she has helped the team tremendously.

“Her lines and form are just so beautiful,” Patton said. “From the get-go I noticed her foundation is strong and her basics are flawless. It is extremely difficult for judges to deduct points from her.”

Nampel is an extremely reliable gymnast and has stepped up to the occasion many times. With help from Nampel’s foundation of coaching, she has become easily coachable and makes her skills look effortless.

“Ellie is a seriously brave individual,” Patton said. “I have had to rely on Ellie so often during last season; due to teammates’ injuries or other things, I have had to ask Ellie to compete on a moment’s notice on events that she wasn’t planning on competing that day. And not only does she perform well in these cases, but she knocks it out of the park! Some of the best routines I have seen from her are from when she has had no time to warm up the routine or prepare, but she comes in and competes her heart out. That comes from dedication to practice, love for her teammates, and courage in the face of adversity.”

With being a young athlete and new to the high school team, Nampel made a name for herself and since then has been continuing to excel in her athletic endeavors. Throughout her time on the team Nampel has continued to become more comfortable and accepted into the team.

“I’m just trying to do my best and also just have a fun time like with my teammates [while competing and practicing],” Nampel said.

In addition to Nampel acknowledging her connection to her teammates, her coach has also recognized this comfortability she has gained with the others around her.

“Over the course of these first few weeks I have seen Ellie start to grow more comfortable with the team and with others,” Patton said. “I can see her growing into a leadership role over this year and next year.”

Practices for the team are consistent and time consuming. Not only is this a factor but the team also practices in Round Lake which can be a longer drive for some.

“Sometimes it can be challenging because we do practice kind of far away,” Nampel said.  “So driving back and forth can take up a lot of time.”

Although with all Nampel has to do for gymnastics, she manages her academics better than most given her situation. It is easy for athletes to focus on their sport and unknowingly fall behind in schoolwork, but this is not the case for Nampel.

 “I have never heard one bad thing about Ellie from her teachers and her grades are always super strong,” Patton said. “I honestly have no idea how she and the rest of her teammates do it.”

With the pattern Nampel is following she has a strong future ahead of her. Her hard working ethic and desire to reach her potential in all aspects of her life. Nampel’s gymnastics career has a strong future and many of her peers believe in her success for whatever comes ahead of her.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Grace Green
Grace Green, Tom Tom Staff
Grace Green is a senior and this is her second year on staff. Green plays on the varsity softball team. She loves coffee, and in her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends and family.
Hannah Barczak
Hannah Barczak, Visual Director
Hannah Barczak is a senior this is her fourth year on staff as well as her second year as the Visual Director on the Executive Board of the Tom Tom.  Along with her interest in media, this will be her fourth year as an ACHS cheerleader. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, taking pictures, and traveling during her free time. Barczak is excited to make the most of her senior year.
More to Discover

Comments (0)

We encourage constructive and meaningful discussions while maintaining a safe and welcoming environment. Comments should be relevant to the topic at hand and avoid personal attacks or derogatory language. Our team moderates the comments to ensure compliance with our policy and reserves the right to remove any content that violates these guidelines. We value open dialogue and diverse perspectives, and aim to foster a positive online experience for all users.
All Sequoit Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *