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Evansville Courier & Press (Indiana)


HENDERSON — With a regional and Indiana state champion under her guidance, former USA national team member Breasha Pruitt is branching out in her career as a gymnastics coach.

The Henderson resident has been coaching the sport full-time for the last two years and will open her own gym next month in Evansville.

"It's always been in the back of my mind (to own my own gym)," Pruitt said. "After I retired (from competition), I helped people doing gymnastics, private lessons and choreography. Two years ago it became more real and then six months ago, I decided this is the time to do it. I've got to have a place for my girls."

Breasha Pruitt Elite Gymnastics will open in August at 2949 N. St. Joe Ave. in Evansville, the site of the former Acros Gymnastics where Pruitt's athletes had trained previously.

"It has all of the pits and stuff that gymnasts need," said Pruitt, who plans to give the gym a total makeover when she takes possession Aug. 1. "We're going to do it Breasha Pruitt style."

Pruitt has 14 girls from ages 8 to 18 on her team, including level 8 Indiana state champion Rebekah Haas and Ellie Kemper, who won the uneven bars and was second in the all-around in the five-state regional meet.

"Coach Breasha is all about having confidence. That has been my biggest struggle in gymnastics, and Breasha has helped me gain confidence and helped me see my strengths when I didn't," said Kemper, who has been participating in gymnastics for eight years and has been training with Pruitt for the last year.

"Coach Breasha goes above and beyond with her coaching. She not only makes sure I'm succeeding as an athlete, but as a young woman as well," said Haas, who has trained with Pruitt a little more than two years and began her gymnastics career as a 9-year-old. "She puts all of her time and dedication into her gymnasts. Breasha is not only my coach but family."

With her own gym, Pruitt will take on a new role as owner and coach.

"All owners don't coach full-time. I'm coaching so I know what the girls need. To be an owner, it ties everything together," she said. "It's not a major disconnect when the owner doesn't coach, but it's major plus when the owner does coach."

"I think there are definitely advantages to having my coach be the owner too," Kemper said. "All of the past owners I've been with were not coaches, and I think when you are also the coach you know more of what is going on in the gym, what needs to happen, and what is realistic for everything to run smoothly for everyone."

Pruitt wants to provide opportunities to gymnasts in the area that she didn't have when she was progressing in the sport.

"I had to leave town to go to Texas and Pennsylvania to get top training. Now these girls can stay home. I want to be able to provide that, that's what I'm shooting for," she said. "I want to bring top people in and bring in camps so they don't have to leave home."

"To be able to bring all of that back to the Tri-state area is very special to me because this is where I grew up," Pruitt said. "I want to be able to help other people make it too. These girls have the same goals and dreams that I did."

Haas and Kemper see the benefits that gymnastics has provided in their lives. "Over the years I've gained strength, fitness, discipline, and perseverance. Gymnastics has helped shape my life in a positive way. I would love to continue down this path and collegiate gymnastics," Kemper said.

"Gymnastics has always been my thing. I've never been a part of any other sport," Haas said. "When I first started, I hoped to gain skills that I could show off to my friends. As I grew in gymnastics, I learned that it was more than that. I gained confidence and bravery. As a big goal, I hope to gain more titles like regional and national champion."

Pruitt's gym will also offer a boys team that will be coached by Zack Rickard.

Registration for classes will continue through August. For more information, follow BPEliteGym or Coach Breasha on Facebook or call 812-773-8401.

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July 13, 2018


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