Instructors in our program will primarily consist of UW-La Crosse gymnasts who have been involved with the sport of gymnastics for 12 or more years.
Kasey Crawford was named UW-La Crosse head gymnastics coach April 27 after serving as interim head coach in 2016-17. She also teaches in UWL's Exercise Sport Science Department.
"I am thrilled and incredibly grateful to officially be named the UW-La Crosse head women's gymnastics coach," said Crawford. "To say I have landed 'my dream job' is an understatement. I would like to thank UWL Director of Athletics Kim Blum, Dean of Exercise Sport Science Mark Gibson, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Paula Knudson, and the entire search and screen committee for putting its trust in me and giving me the opportunity to lead this outstanding gymnastics program."
UWL placed second at the 2017 National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) Championships, its 24th top-two finish in 34 national championships. The Eagles have won an NCGA record 17 (1986, 1988, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2016) titles. UWL earned seven NCGA All-America honors at this year's national championships, including Kari Willett who captured the NCGA title on the balance beam.
The Eagles placed second at the 2017 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championships under Crawford, the 28th consecutive season UWL placed first or second at the league championships. UWL earned five All-WIAC awards at this year's championships.
Prior to being named interim head coach after Barbara Gibson announced her retirement July 25, Crawford served as an assistant coach at UWL for eight years. She earned the 2015-16 NCGA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year award after helping lead UWL to its second straight national title. Crawford was named the 2011-12 and 2012-13 NCGA North Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year as UWL placed third at the 2012 NCGA Championships and second in 2013.
"I cannot thank Barbara Gibson enough for her incredible mentorship and guidance to me over these last 13 years," said Crawford. "She has made me the coach I am today, and I would not be sitting here in this position without her. I also cannot thank my athletes enough for their incredible trust in me. We had an outstanding first season, and we are very excited about creating our own mark in our future journey together. We are stacked with incredible character and talent, and our end of the year meetings have already shown to me the dedication and passion for our future. I cannot wait to continue the rich tradition and success of the UWL gymnastics program. Go Eagles!”
Crawford was a four-year letter winner and two-year team captain at UWL, competing from 2004-08. A member of three NCGA Championship teams (2005, 2006, 2008), Crawford earned five career NCGA All-America honors. She earned All-America accolades in the all-around (2005), uneven parallel bars (2005 and 2008); vault (2005) and balance beam (2008).
Named the 2007-08 WIAC Scholar-Athlete, Crawford earned three career all-conference honors. She placed fourth on the vault at the 2005 WIAC Championship while finishing fifth on the uneven parallel bars in 2007 and sixth in 2008. She was a two-time WIAC Athlete of the Week selection. Crawford was named to the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll all four years and was a 2007-08 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District Second Team selection.
"Kasey has been a big part of UWL gymnastics over the course of many years both as a student-athlete and an assistant coach," said Blum. "I believe Kasey brings the perfect mix of commitment to the traditions of our women's gymnastics program, combined with a strong, innovative vision for the future. I look forward to Kasey's inspired aspirations coming to fruition."
In the last nine years, UWL has won five NCGA championships and four WIAC crowns. UWL gymnasts have earned a total of 72 NCGA All-America honors in the last nine seasons.
"Having been with this program for 13 years, as a coach and as an athlete, I realize the rich tradition of our program and the incredible opportunity I have in front of me," said Crawford. "I am thrilled to work with an athletic department driven by excellence in school, in sport and in life, and I look forward to helping my student-athletes grow in that philosophy for many years to come."
Crawford completed her fourth year as an assistant sports performance coach in UWL's Sports Performance Center and as an instructor in UWL's Exercise Sport Science Department in 2015-16. Crawford is a certified USAG (USA Gymnastics) Level 10 judge.
She and her husband, Mike, have two children, Kinsley and Keaton.
Jenna Matz begins her fifth season as an assistant coach in 2016-17. A four-year letter winner for the Eagles, Swails earned two NCGA All-America honors. She tied for fifth on the vault in 2011 and tied for third on the floor exercise in 2012.
At the WIAC Championships, Swails earned four career honors. She was second on the floor and tied for second on the vault in 2011 and placed second on the vault and tied for second on the floor in 2012.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in business marketing and graphic design.
Ali Berry is in her second season with the UWL gymnastics team, coaching primarilly on the vault and floor exercise. She was a three-time NCGA All-America selection while competing at UWL, twice on the floor and once on vault. She was also an academic All-America selection, and a member of the 2015 National Championship team.
Deanna Barmore begins her first year on the UWL staff in 2016-17. She competed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for two years, scoring an all-time high of 9.875 on the vault in 2012. She was a four-time Level 10 national qualifier in high school and brings a wealth of knowledge to the UWL team this season.
Nicole Wangler begins her second year on the UWL staff in 2016-17, primarilly coaching beam. She was a NCGA First-Team All-America selection on vault in 2014 as a member of the UWL gymnastics team, and a three-time Level 10 gymnast in high school.
Carly Kiesow begins her first year coaching the UWL gymnastics team. She was a member of UWL's back-to-back National Championship Teams in 2015 and 2016.
Jessica Herrmann begins her fourth year on the UWL coaching staff in 2016-17. She earned Academic All-America honors while competing at UWL, and was a member of the 2010 and 2011 NCGA Championship teams for the Eagles.
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