Abby Fletcher’s journey to become a gymnastics MVP

KSU’s graphic created to congratulate Fletcher on her Gymnast of the Year award. April 23, 2021.

Sean Blevins Sports Reporter

Abby Fletcher struggled for years at gymnastics before reaching her full athletic potential in her college years. 

She would eventually develop into a program leader for Kent State and become the best player in the conference by the end of her senior season, but her path to the top wasn’t easy. It took years of dedication to gymnastics to reach that pinnacle.  

“I started when I was four; to be honest I wasn’t really that good. I was a little kid,” she said. “I wasn’t winning or anything. I wasn’t that naturally talented, but I just loved it and then I started going to the gym all the time.”

Fletcher said she was never the most talented kid, but she always had a strong work ethic and a burning desire to get better. 

“It’s honestly crazy because when I was 13, I told my coaches that I was going to play in college and they were like, ‘I don’t know if you are going to make it that far,’” Fletcher said. 

She did not forget those words. She used them as motivation and seemingly lit a fire under herself that has not stopped burning. 

Despite those doubts from her early instructors, Fletcher showed enough potential to accept an offer to compete at Kent State when she was only 15. She was a raw prospect at the time with a long way to go before she was ready for the college game. 

“I wasn’t good until the age of 13,” Fletcher said. “It wasn’t until I got to the upper levels and started training more hours and got the swing of things. I honestly had my best years in college.” 

Brice Biggin, Kent State’s head gymnastics coach, said he knew early on during Fletcher’s freshman year that she was going to be a special player. He saw the potential in her; it was just a matter of time before it showed in a game setting.

“She already had some good skills when she came in, we helped polish those and more than anything we gave her more confidence in her abilities and that helped her get better,” Biggin said about Fletcher. 

He saw her add more and more elements to her routines each year. He and other coaches often had to tell her to slow down when she was training and practicing because she was overworking herself. 

Floor was Fletcher’s specialty in college, but she was more than proficient at beam and vault. She regularly won event titles in all three events. 

She won conference championships on floor during her freshman, sophomore and senior years. 

All of the work that she put in throughout the course of her college career culminated into being named the Mid-American Conference Senior Gymnast of the Year. 

She said winning that award meant the world to her and quickly thanked her teammates for helping her get better and being by her side. 

Biggin said the best thing about her was that he could always count on her because she was so consistent and rarely missed a routine. He never had to tell her things twice; she was one of the most coachable athletes he has been around. 

Fletcher was fortunate enough that she only had to quarantine once throughout the course of the pandemic because of the virus, although most of her teammates were not so lucky; many of them were sidelined multiple times. 

She was just glad to be able to get through the season with it being a pandemic and all. 

“I always knew that I could do it,” she said. “Getting through my senior year, with everything that happened to me, injuries and all the other things, I couldn’t have written it better myself.” 

She certainly made the most of her opportunities and even ended up exceeding the limits that she thought she was capable of. 

Fletcher is supremely confident that she made the right decision to come to Kent State and she said could not be more proud of what she accomplished in her time there. She is extremely grateful to her coaches for helping her develop her skills as a gymnast and for allowing her to grow as a person. 

Currently, she is preparing for the next chapter of her life and transitioning to a life without gymnastics. She will graduate in May with a degree in fashion merchandising. 

“Right now, I am just job searching and looking for jobs at places like Under Armour and Nike,” Fletcher said. “I can’t see my life without sports and athletics in it, so finding a job in whatever way I can is what I’m doing.”

She currently has an internship at Aurora Tights, an apparel company that makes athletic clothing. She said she loves it and hopes to parlay her experiences into a job at a larger company in the near future.

Fletcher is determined to be successful and she has repeatedly proven she has the drive to do just that. 

Sean Blevins is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].