Katie Paquette knows how to develop a winner. A highly successful gymnast herself, she started coaching gymnastics at the age of 15. After developing her club team, Livingston County Gymnasts, into a perennial winner, she started the process of building a championship team on the high school level.
The high school gymnastics program she started from scratch just a few years ago is now near the top of the Capital Area Athletic Conference (CAAC).
It all started in 2007, when a group of six high school girls wanted to take their gymnastics to the high school level. Coach Katie went to the Fowlerville School Board and athletic director and asked for permission to create the first Fowlerville High School Gymnastics varsity club.
The group of six, which included one gymnast from Webberville High School, began their competitions outside of the CAAC league competing against other Livingston County teams. In the 2008-2009 season, the team joined the CAAC league and began qualifying gymnasts for the regional competition.
The program developed into a varsity club sport where the gymnasts are able to earn their varsity letter by qualifying for the regional competition.
Paquette brought on Assistant Coach Corinne (Jelken) Zachos, who spent countless volunteer hours helping to develop the program into a successful, winning team within the CAAC league and region.
The Fowlerville team grew over the years and has had many achievements and accomplishments, including individual state finalists in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The team earned a second-place CAAC finish in 2014 with six senior gymnasts, and began hosting their very own “home” competitions at Livingston County Gymnasts in Howell, the team’s home gym.
A huge honor came in 2013, when Paquette was named Coach of the Year by the Lansing State Journal for leading the Fowlerville High School team to a fifth-place CAAC finish.
In 2015, the Fowlerville High School gymnastics team created a co-op with Byron High School to create the Fowlerville-Byron gymnastics team.
This season, the Fowlerville-Byron team was projected before the season to tie for second place in the CAAC league with nine gymnasts, including four freshmen and five sophomores.
And they’re off to a great start. So far this season, the team is off to a great start in the CAAC with a first-place finish at the East Lansing Invitational on Jan. 7.
Following that, the gymnasts traveled to Holt on Jan. 11, where the team set a Fowlerville High School team record with a score of 138.8.
The Fowlerville-Byron Gymnastics team will host Mason on Feb. 6 at Livingston County Gymnasts, 760 McPherson Park Dr. in Howell. Head Coach Paquette and Assistant Coach Zachos are very excited about the season and are proud of the team’s performance thus far.
In addition to being home to the Fowlerville-Byron team, Livingston County Gymnasts Inc. offers recreational classes that are devoted to the physical, social and psychological development of gymnasts. The facility is a professional, fun and educational gym that takes pride in being the most affordable gymnastics facility in the area.
The coaches and trainers are CPR-certified among other certifications and focus on the development of each child’s individual needs and abilities while promoting a safe, fun place for children to gain self- confidence.
Classes are available for all ages from 3 years old to adult classes, and a cheer and tumbling class. The facility also has availability for birthday parties. For more information, visit www.livingstongymnastics.com or call 517-672-6062.