Utah Gymnastics Inks Three Five-Star Gymnasts on National Signing Day
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Gymnastics continues to add to its plethora of talent as three five-star gymnasts signed their National Letter of Intent on Wednesday. Elizabeth Gantner, Camie Winger, and Ella Zirbes possess national championship pedigree and extensive competitive success at the national level. The impressive signing class will compete for the Utes in the 2024 season.
"We are thrilled to have three incredible young women with outstanding talent join our Utah Gymnastics family," said head coach Tom Farden. "They all come from wonderful families and nationally recognized clubs. Each of these future Red Rocks have shown that they thrive under pressure, and we believe they have what it takes to keep our program among the elite in NCCA gymnastics!"
— Utah Gymnastics (@UtahGymnastics) November 9, 2022
Elizabeth Gantner | Indianapolis, Ind. | JPAC
"Elizabeth comes to us after competing at the International Elite Level and as a multiple JO National Champion, which bodes well for the future success of her NCAA career," Farden said. "She is an intelligent and resilient woman, which has attributed to her successes both in the classroom and in competitions. We believe she will shine on the Huntsman floor as a multiple lineup contributor. She shines on the intricate events and has also competed two different 10.0 start-value vaults which is incredible."
Gantner joins the Red Rocks as the 2021 Level 10 national champion on bars and beam, and the national runner-up in the all-around. Prior to making the jump to junior elite, Gantner was the bronze medalist on beam at the 2017 Junior Olympic National Championships as well.
During her time as an elite gymnast, Gantner was a two-time U.S. Classic and American Classic competitor. The Indianapolis, Ind., native also competed at the 2019 Junior World Championships Trials, along with the 2017 Nastia Liukin Cup.
Gantner is an eight-time region champion and 12-time regional medalist, which is most recently highlighted by a first-place finish in the all-around and on vault, and second-place finishes on bars and floor at the 2021 Region 5 Championships. The six-time Indiana state champion won vault and floor at the 2021 Indiana State Championships, while she took home the silver medal on bars and in the all-around.
The daughter of Julie and Keith Gantner trains at Jaycie Phelps Athletic Center (JPAC). Her coach Jaycie Phelps was a 1996 Olympic gold medalist on Team USA. Both of her parents were collegiate athletes, while her older siblings Sarah and Sam are current collegiate athletes. Gantner has been an honor roll student every year of high school and was the chemistry student of the year for the 2021-22 academic year at Roncalli HS. She has four siblings: Sarah, Joe, Sam, and Tommy.
Camie Winger | Orem, Utah | Bold Gymnastics
"We've had the honor of getting to know Camie at our camps for the past several years," said Farden. "She has a spunky personality with a deep-rooted passion for our sport. Camie has been very consistent on the biggest stages and we believe that will translate well in her future as a Red Rock. We see her fighting for several lineup positions as a freshman. Our fans will love this local athlete and her well-executed skillset. She has power, grace, and artistry that we are beyond excited to welcome."
Winger, a hometown star gymnast, makes the short trip from Orem to Salt Lake City as the national runner-up on bars (2021) and floor (2022) at the Level 10 National Championships. Winger is a consistent all-arounder as the incoming freshman has finished in the top-five in the all-around the past three years at the national championships. She has qualified for the Junior Olympic National Championships five times.
Winger is a five-time region champion and 10-time regional medalist heading into her final year of club gymnastics. At the 2022 Region 1 Championships, Winger was a three-time champion after winning the all-around, bars and beam, and was the runner-up on floor. The year before, she was the gold medalist on bars and bronze medalist on beam and in the all-around.
Since 2019, Winger has been a nine-time Utah state medalist in three competitions. She was the floor champion at the 2022 Utah State Championships, as well as the runner-up on bars, beam and in the all-around at the 2021 state competition. Winger has never placed outside the top-four in the all-around at the Utah State Championships.
The daughter of Crystal and Todd Winger currently trains at Bold Gymnastics and was previously at All American Gymnastics. She had been coached by current Utah assistant coach Jimmy Pratt nearly her entire career, and has also been coached by former Red Rock All-American Makenna Merrell-Giles. Winger has been on the high honor roll every semester at Timpanogos High School, and was awarded the academic excellence award in English as a freshman. She will be graduating a year early. She has five brothers: Bradley, Dylan, James, Corey and Cyrus.
Ella Zirbes | Stillwater, Minn. | Flips Gymnastics
"Ella is another former International Elite from Minnesota that has an extremely strong technical foundation in her skills," Farden stated. "She excels on every event, but thousands of Red Rocks fans will especially take note of her impeccable form on bars where she is a national champion. She comes to us with an eye catching 10.0 vault and her clean execution on every event will be an asset for our program. From the moment we started recruiting her, we saw the dedication and work ethic as a perfect 10.0 fit for our program."
Zirbes joins the Red Rocks as the 2019 Junior Olympic national champion in the all-around and on bars, and the runner-up on vault and floor. The former elite gymnast was a 2019 U.S. Championships competitor, as well as a 2019 U.S. Classic competitor. Zirbes also competed at the 2019 World Championship Trials, and at the 2019 American Classic in Salt Lake City.
Zirbes has posted a 9.90 on vault and floor in 2022, as well as a 39.175 in the all-around to rank on America's Top 100 scores. The Stillwater, Minn., native is a seven-time regional champion. At the 2019 Region 4 Championships, Zirbes was the all-around, vault, bars and floor champion. She was the 2018 regional vault champion, and was the all-around and floor champion the year before.
At the state level, Zirbes has dominated and heads into the new club season as a 14-time Minnesota state champion. At her last state championships in 2019, Zirbes won the all-around and vault, while finishing as the runner-up on floor. In 2018, she was the champion on all but one event after taking home the gold medal on vault, bars, beam, and in the all-around.
The daughter of Jane and Jeremy Zirbes trains at Flips Gymnastics. She has been on the 'A' Honor Roll/Dean's List every year while attending Stillwater Area High School, and is a member of the Stillwater Concert Choir and Chamber Choir. She has a younger brother, Henry.