Gymnastics is not a CIF-sanctioned sport; it hasn’t been since Proposition 13 in the late 1970s, but it is an NCAA sport and two local student-athletes just signed for their gymnastics scholarships.
Renee Zografos from Chaparral High School will compete for Seattle Pacific University and Renee Megan Jimenez from Temecula Valley will compete for Oregon State.
“We knew we wanted to get her into something active,” said Renee’s parents, Peter and Marie Zografos, “so we started her in tumbling at age two.” Renee fell in love with the sport and has excelled in it. She has won numerous regional and state titles. When she became a Level 9 gymnast, she won a Junior Olympics Western Nationals title. She has been a Level 10 gymnast the last two years.
“It’s really humbling, since we don’t get a lot of press or attention for those accomplishments, especially around high school where it’s not considered a school sport.” Renee still trains 25-30 hours a week locally at SCEGA gymnastics.
It’s been a goal of hers since the sixth-grade to get a scholarship and compete at the collegiate level; she started looking into schools in her sophomore year. Her coach, Meredith Paulicivick, gave her a list of colleges to consider and Renee contacted all of them. She narrowed it down to location and academics; she wants to major in education and physical therapy.
“Seattle Pacific has a beautiful campus and the coaches and team are so friendly.”
Megan Jimenez started gymnastics at age three, training at SCEGA in Temecula for 10 years and at Precision Gymnastics in Rancho Cucamonga the last five years.
Her mother, Mary, has been driving her to practice and says, “This is her sport; she loves it!” Megan earned a Level 10 at age eleven and Elite in 2010. She holds five state championship titles, seven regional championship titles and is a former member of the Junior Olympic National Team. She won back-to-back all-around titles in 2010 and 2011 at the Southern California State Championships. She is a five-time Junior Olympics National Championship qualifier.
Megan had originally committed verbally to the University of Michigan; she has since committed to Oregon State, the #9-ranked team in the NCAA.
So, even though it’s not a high school sport, it is still possible to get a college scholarship doing what you love. Did you know there are water skiing scholarships available, too?