When Abigail Whitehead steps on the Rutgers University campus next fall, she will take a little bit of Stafford County with her. Abigail, or “Abbey” as she is called, will enroll as a student athlete, representing the Stafford Gymnastics Center team, the Royals, on the Division I scene.
“Being a part of Stafford Royals has not only allowed me to reach my dream of college gymnastics but it has made me the person I am today. Ever since I walked through the front doors of the Gymnastics Center, 14 years ago for my first parent tot class, I’ve known I found my home,” said Abbey Whitehead. “Stafford Royals will always be my home, but I can’t wait to make a new one at Rutgers University.”
The Mountain View High School senior is a level 10 on the Stafford Royals, which is a Stafford County Parks recreational team. She is the first participant in the program to secure a spot on a Division I team. Abbey has been involved in the Stafford Gymnastics program since she was a tot and is only participating on the Mountain View High School gymnastics team for the first time this year. She is the daughter of Rick and Beth Whitehead. She is involved with coaching at the Gymnastics Center, the Special Olympics and National Honor Society.
“We have a full-scale facility from beginning to end that focuses on the development of the entire athlete,” said Stafford Royals’ Coach Craig Tetreault. “Like Abbey, the gymnasts start as tots and can progress and grow from the time they enter the doors until they leave to go to college.”
Coach Tetreault and Abbey estimate they have been together for more than 1,000 practices over the last six and half years. Abbey’s standout events are floor and uneven bars. She was spotted by Rutgers at a college showcase competition last summer and signed with the school this fall.
Advantages of the Stafford Gymnastics program are the affordability for residents as well as the caliber of the coaches. Coach Tetreault has a national level certification and was a Division I gymnast himself at Southern Connecticut State University.
For more information about the program, please visit www.staffordparks.com or www.staffordroyals.com.