After the departure of previous head coach Elise Ray-Statz in October 2020 and a hiring process that began in April, the University of Washington announced the hiring of Jen Llewellyn as its new gymnastics head coach.
A native of Kenmore, Washington, Llewellyn still holds level 10 club records at Bellevue’s Gymnastics East. As a gymnast at Oregon State, she became a three-time All-American, a Pac-10 champion, a regional champion and a national finalist on the uneven bars.
After concluding her competitive career, Llewellyn spent a year as a student assistant for the Beavers before accepting a position as a graduate assistant at Lindenwood for what would be its inaugural season. In St. Charles, she faced immense pressure when she was named interim head coach immediately after the Lions’ very first meet. Under her leadership, the Lions quickly became an institution in Division II gymnastics. They earned MIC championships in every season since 2015, missing out only twice in program history. Lindenwood is also a three-time USAG collegiate national champion, earning titles in 2015, 2016 and 2019. In 2019, the Lions qualified to the NCAA regional championships for the first time.
A fresh face will be welcome in Seattle after the Huskies struggled in 2021, failing to qualify to NCAA regionals for only the second time since the NCAA began sponsoring women’s gymnastics in 1982. Llewellyn will inherit a depleted roster of just 14 athletes after multiple regular contributors departed during the 2020-21 season and weekly all arounder Katie McNamara transferred to UCLA. Still, exciting prospects like Nastia Liukin Cup champion Leah Smith, Finnish elite Tira Kuitunen and level 10 national vault champion Lana Navarro provide reason for optimism.
While no assistant coaches have been named and the hiring process is likely still ongoing, note that Llewellyn’s husband Cody has coached alongside her at Lindenwood for the past three years. Make sure you’re following College Gym News on Twitter to see the latest news as soon as it happens.
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Article by Rebecca Scally
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