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Butts Announces Four Signees

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (Nov. 11, 2021) – West Virginia University gymnastics coach Jason Butts has announced the addition of four student-athletes for next fall. 

Joining the Mountaineers are Brooke Irwin (Fort Lupton, Colorado), Carlee Nelson (Marietta, Ohio), Miranda Smith (New Hartford, New York) and Emma Wehry (Klingerstown, Pennsylvania). 

“We are very excited to officially sign the class of 2022 and welcome the athletes and their families to the WVU gymnastics family,” Butts said. “The 2022 class is strong across the board, perhaps the best overall class we have ever signed. I have no doubt these athletes will help us to continue to grow our program in terms of academic and athletic success.” 

Brooke Irwin / Fort Lupton, Colorado
Irwin is a native of Fort Lupton, Colorado, where she attends Erie High School. Irwin is a five-year Level 10 gymnast for coach Melissa Luedtke at Airborne Gymnastics Club. Most recently, she competed at the 2021 Women’s Level 10 National Championships, where she tallied a pair of top-20 finishes on vault and uneven bars. Prior to the national championships, she secured first-place finishes on vault, balance beam, floor exercise and the all-around at the Region 3 Championships to earn a trip to nationals. 

A three-star recruit by College Gym News, Irwin also competed at the 2019 Junior Olympic Nationals, where she earned a top-20 finish on balance beam. During her first trip to JO Nationals in 2018, she earned a pair of top-10 finishes, tying for second place on vault and placing sixth on the all-around. 

The daughter of Blake Irwin and Aimee Keronen, her father, Blake, played football and her mother, Aimee, played tennis at New Mexico. Her sister, Peyton, also is a collegiate swimmer at Northern Colorado. Irwin plans to enroll in general studies at WVU. 

“I loved the atmosphere of the school, and the coaches and the team immediately made me feel like family on my visit,” Irwin said. 

“The first time we had the opportunity to watch Brooke, we were amazed at her athleticism,” associate head coach Travis Doak said. “She is a dynamic athlete that comes from an athletic family. When she made the trip to campus and we were able to meet her and get a sense of her personality and sense of humor, we knew WVU was the perfect fit. We are thrilled to have her join our Mountaineer family.” 

Carlee Nelson / Marietta, Ohio
A Marietta, Ohio, native, Nelson attends Fort Frye High School. She is a five-year Level 10 gymnast for coaches Nikki Thomson, Liz Nutter and Angela Way at Gymniks Gymnastics in Vienna, West Virginia. In April, Nelson secured first place at the 2021 West Virginia State Championship meet on vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise to secure the all-around state champion title. At the 2021 Region 7 Championships later that month, she won the balance beam title and made the podium on floor exercise and the all-around. 

With her performance at regionals, Nelson earned a trip to the 2021 Women’s Level 10 National Championships, where she tallied a top-10 finish on floor exercise in her first appearance at the national meet. In addition to her event sweep at the 2021 West Virginia State Championship, Nelson also placed first on all four events, including the all-around, at the Girl Power Invitational in 2019. 

The daughter of Rob and Stefanie, her mother ran track in college and her brother, Luke, currently plays collegiate baseball at Muskingum. Nelson plans to enroll in general studies at WVU. 

“I’ve attended WVU’s camps and meets in the past, and I witnessed the relationships the girls had with each other and the coaches,” Nelson said. “It has always felt like an amazing, fun environment, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.” 

“It isn’t every signing period that we have the opportunity to bring in an athlete that we have had the privilege to get to know through the years,” Doak said. “We had the opportunity to get to know and work with Carlee from a young age. She continues to get stronger each season. She is competing at a great skill level and has a great style in gymnastics. We are confident she will bring in great scores in college and are thrilled she chose WVU.” 

Miranda Smith / New Hartford, New York
A native of New Hartford, New York, Smith attends New Hartford High School. She is a six-year Level 10 gymnast for coach Danielle Cerminaro at Valley Gymnastics Club in Utica, New York. A four-time Junior Olympic Nationals Qualifier, Smith most recently competed at the 2019 JO Nationals and earned a pair of top-10 finishes on vault and floor exercise. In February, she competed at the 2021 Nastia Liukin Cup and placed inside the top 20 on all four events and the all-around, including finishing in a tie for third place on floor exercise and a tie for seventh on vault. 

At the 2021 Region 6 Championships in April, Smith topped the podium on vault, uneven bars, floor exercise and the all-around to earn a trip to the 2021 Women’s Level 10 National Championships. At nationals, the four-star recruit according to College Gym News placed first on floor exercise while tallying a pair of top-10 finishes on vault and the all-around. 

The daughter of Randy and Alicia, her father, Randy, played junior college hockey at Mohawk Valley CC, while her grandfather, Bordie, played hockey in the professional ranks in the EHL with the Clinton Comets. Smith plans to major in exercise physiology at WVU. 

“I chose WVU because I loved the team and the coaches,” Smith said. “It just felt like home as soon as I stepped on campus.” 

“Miranda is one of those recruits every program seeks to find,” Doak said. “Her skill level alone will immediately make an impact. However, for those that get to know Miranda personally, they will see the humble and hardworking values she will bring to the team. She is incredible, and we are lucky to have her as a Mountaineer.” 

Emma Wehry / Klingerstown, Pennsylvania
A native of Klingerstown, Pennsylvania, Wehry attends Tri-Valley High School. She is a four-year Level 10 gymnast at Stallone Gymnastics for coaches Marty Amrich and Gina Stallone Amrich. Most recently, she competed in the 2021 Women’s Level 10 National Championships, were she secured a top-10 finish in a tie for fifth on floor exercise. At the 2021 Region 7 Level 10 Regionals, Wehry earned a trip to the national championships with four top-five finishes, along with a second-place showing on floor. 

Rated as a three-star prospect by College Gym News, she also competed at the 2019 Junior Olympic Nationals where she finished tied for first on floor, while securing a pair of top-15 finishes on beam and the all-around. Since becoming a Level 10 gymnast, she has topped the podium in the all-around five different times, most recently at the 2021 Centre Elite Regional Prep Meet. 

The daughter of Randy and Jennifer Wehry, her sister, Grace, is currently a college gymnast at Kent State. Wehry will enroll in general studies at WVU. 

“The gym atmosphere and team environment at West Virginia is unmatched,” Wehry said. “The school overall truly feels like the place I was meant to be.” 

“Gymnastically, Emma has every event,” Doak said. “She has an array of skills that separates her from other recruits. We are excited that her original skills will stand out in college. Her work ethic is unmatched and when working with her, we feel our coaching style will be a perfect fit. There is no doubt she will be successful at WVU. She is very driven and competitive, and we are so excited to see her impact on our program.” 

Of note, the 2020 Junior Olympic Nationals were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“As our recruiting coordinator, Travis has done an outstanding job of leading our efforts to find the best gymnasts from across the country to represent West Virginia University and the Flying WV,” Butts added. “I am looking for this class to have an immediate impact on our level of difficulty and to capitalize on their strong, competitive experience.”  

“We are extremely excited to welcome our new Mountaineers to the program,” assistant coach Zaakira Muhammad added about the signing class. “They all bring different styles and qualities to WVU and complement each other’s strengths tremendously. These four athletes are the perfect fit to the team, priding themselves on their work ethics, motivation and determination to achieve their goals in and out of the gym.”

Press Release: WVU Athletic Department

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