Hahnville gymnast decommits from Alabama, set for LSU

Kamryn Ryan (right) with Hahnville teammate Katie Kunkel and HHS gymnastics coach Courtney Grabert,

Fresh off her 10th state championship win, the plan was for Hahnville alumnus Kamryn Ryan to take her gymnastics talents to Alabama.

Plans have changed.

The trailblazer for gymnastics at the high school level in St. Charles Parish has decommitted from the Crimson Tide in favor of staying closer to home— Ryan is instead headed to LSU.

“Once a Tiger, always a Tiger,” Ryan said.

The newly graduated Hahnville Tiger will indeed continue to wear stripes, so to speak, at the collegiate level.

She said it wasn’t a decision that came easy, but ultimately the chance to stay close to home while continuing her competitive career was one she couldn’t say no to.

When the opportunity presented itself to still join the team in Baton Rouge, she made the call to change.

“It was definitely a later call than I expected,” Ryan said. “Staying close to home was a big factor at play. Alabama has a phenomenal team, program, facility, coaching staff, education … it wasn’t a slight toward them at all. Both are top notch schools.”

And rivals, of course.

“It just so happens, yeah,” Ryan said. “You never expect to be in that position, but I was. It was a tough decision, but this is what I felt like was right for me. And I’m really excited about it.”

Ryan won multiple individual state championships in each of her four years competing at Hahnville — the first four years the program has existed, in fact. The program’s establishment is a point of pride for her.

“It’s remarkable what the parish did and what our school did,” Ryan said. “Really stepped up to the plate. Gymnastics has never been a big thing out here, and even now everyone might not realize what we’re doing, that we have a team, since they’re just three of us. But we got the ball rolling.”

Ryan was competing at this year’s state meet with an injured foot, and with a national competition to follow days later, there was a question of whether it was worth the risk of worsening the injury. Ryan believed it was, and indeed it worked out that way. She emerged with championships in the balance beam and vault events.

“That I’ve been able to win state championships for my school … it’s really been an amazing experience,” she said. “I wanted to finish what I started. Once I got through the more intense stuff with my foot, it was a big relief.”

She’s joining an LSU program that has won three conference championships in a row and produced two individual national champions in different events last season: Sarah Finnegan and Kennedi Edney, in the uneven bars and vault, respectively.

Ryan hopes to one day add to those honors, just as she did as another kind of purple and gold Tiger before.

“Having my parents at a basketball game and seeing my banner up at the (HHS) gym … that thing will never move,” Ryan said. “If my kids ever go there, I can show them, hey, look what I did. It makes me feel like I left my mark.”

 

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