The County Chronicle

The online newspaper for Loudoun County High School

The County Chronicle

The County Chronicle

Athlete of the Issue

Sabrina Simpkins rules the floor as a dual athlete

Blinding white lights fill the gym and reflect off of the rhinestones on sophomore Sabrina Simpkins’ leotard. As she steps on the mat, adrenaline rushes through her veins, and excitement gives her the energy to perform her complicated tumbling passes for her first routine of the year.

Simpkins and the cheer team won the 2023 State Championship with a final score of 242.75. At the end of their routine, they performed an innovative pyramid in which flyers linked together to create the shape of a pyramid.

“Winning states was the most amazing feeling ever, truly like nothing I had ever felt before,” Simpkins said. “Being able to win and preserve with such an amazing team was just so incredibly rewarding. Even though it wasn’t our best performance it was really nice to know all the hard work we’ve put into this season had paid off.”

In preparation for competition, the cheer team had a rigorous practice schedule.

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“Preparation for the competition was crazy,” Simpkins said. “We had all of our morning practices but I also was insanely superstitious when it came to the days leading up to the competition. Every time I thought about cheer, I would have to knock on wood to ensure I didn’t jinx the team.”

When it comes to gymnastics competitions, Simpkins specializes in floor despite having a background in many skills such as tumbling and trampoline (TNT) cheerleading, artistic gymnastics, and dance.

“I think I just fell in love with it [floor] because there were endless combinations of tumbling passes and always something to learn,” Simpkins said.

Her initial love for gymnastics came from the creativity and diversity of skills one can perform. Over the years, she has further fallen in love with tumbling by simply learning.

“No matter what skill you are doing, there is always something to improve on, and I think that kept driving me to be the best I could,” Simpkins said.

To Simpkins, teammates are her biggest role models.

Sabrina Simpkins and Emily Pyle pose with their 2023 VHSL State Championship trophy. Simpkins is a County cheerleader and gymnast. Photo courtesy of Sabrina Simpkins on Instagram. (@sabrina.bina256)

“In each of my teammates’ skills, I think I know I can improve on myself,” Simpkins said. “I kind of just look to everyone for different reasons.”

Within the learning process, advice and reassurance from her coaches and teammates help make Simpkins better, mentally and physically.

“My coach at the time said that I didn’t have to be perfect because that was unachievable,” Simpkins said. “I had a problem with trying to be perfect and execute my skills to a tee. But, him saying this reassured my worries that no one is perfect. I knew if I kept learning and kept striving to be my best, I would only progress.”

As a County gymnast and cheerleader, a welcoming environment and team of talented gal pals make it all worth it for Simpkins.

“The gymnastics team is so extremely welcoming and we are all close,” Simpkins said. “I am proud to call every girl on that team one of my friends.”

At seven years old, Simpkins began her gymnastics career.

“My parents put me in GymKids and I quickly fell in love,” said Simpkins. “They said I was constantly tumbling around the house.”

In college, Simpkins plans to pursue a career in acrobatics and tumbling, which combines two of her favorite things, cheerleading and gymnastics.

“The sport is a new coming sport for the NCAA and I’ve really taken interest in it because it’s a mix of my two worlds,” Simpkins said.

Outside of athletics, Simpkins is a hard working student, managing a heavy workload with her busy schedule.

“Balancing school and gym can be difficult at times because practices are at night but I try to find times during the day to get all my work done,” Simpkins said.

Simpkins emphasizes having good friends, teammates, and a positive attitude to allow her to be successful. She mentions, “If you’re not having fun in your sport, then all the hard work you put in just seems useless.”

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About the Contributor
Taylor Helfer, Managing Editor
Taylor Helfer is a sophomore at Loudoun County High School and this is her second year on the newspaper staff. In particular, she likes writing feature pieces. Outside of newspaper, Taylor enjoys playing volleyball, listening to Taylor Swift, and managing her food blog on Instagram (@grubswithtay).

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