Acrobatic Gymnastics Spotlight of the Month - Regional Directors
posted on 01/27/2020

This Spotlight of the Month for January is the Acrobatic Gymnastics Regional Directors. Thank you to all of our Regional Directors for sharing their stories and for their dedication to the Acrobatic Gymnastic Community.

Julie Dupree – Region 3 Acrobatic Gymnastic Regional Director

I’ve been involved with acrobatic gymnastic since 1988. I was an athlete from 1989-2004 then became a coach and co-owner of Crescent City Gymnastics. Accomplishments in Acrobatic Gymnastics:

  • 10 year national gold medalists as a mixed pair top and then a women’s pair base.
  • silver medalist at 1999 Jr. World Championships in women’s pair
  • 5th place at 2001 World games in Women’s pair
  • 2003 Freedom Cup gold medalist
  • 2003-2004 Senior elite national silver medalist in Women’s group
  • national team member in 1991-1992, 1998-1999, 2001, 2003-2004
  • coached from 2006-present
Bob Meier – Region 1 Acrobatic Gymnastic Regional Director

My start in Acrobatic Gymnastics began through my wife’s interest (Pam) in coaching and my three daughter’s acrobatic gymnastic experience with two of them competing at World Championships. As ATA Gymnastics celebrates its 25th anniversary it’s great to look back on how it started as a small recreational program working only on panel mats. We officially opened in March 1995 and began our acrobatic gymnastic team a year later.

Over the years, I have been involved in the administrative side of the sport serving as the Region 1 RACC since 2004. It has been my privilege to have worked with Kristin Allen on the founding of the Acrobatics Gymnastics Foundation. Recently I have served on the USA Gymnastic Program Council.

Karen Freed – Region 7 Acrobatic Gymnastics Regional Director

My first step into the world of acrobatics was as a spectator while my children practiced on other teams and participated in classes. One by one, each of my 5 children transitioned to acrobatic gymnastics. In no time I found myself in the role of ”Acro” parent, volunteer, parent association president, meet director, judge, and team chaperone. I was “all in” to this amazing sport. For the past 8 years I have watched in awe as my children progressed from level 5 to International & Elite competitors - each landing a spot on the National Team during their acrobatic career. What an amazing ride they have started for me!

Last season I added USA delegation chaperone for FIAC to my list of favorite acrobatic gymnastics experiences. It was such an amazing opportunity to get to experience the joy of competition with talented athletes, coaches, judges and support staff from across the country. It has been my pleasure to serve as the Region 7 Administrative Committee Chair this term. I am tremendously proud to have the opportunity to support the growth of acrobatics in the region. It is an honor to work with the many talented athletes and coaches, dedicated families, knowledgeable judges and the most amazing volunteers.

Heather Zepp – Region 4 Acrobatic Gymnastics Regional Director

I was first exposed to acro at the age of 5 when my mom enrolled my sister and I in dance, tumbling and an acro class at Mid-America Acro and Tumbling Team (MAATT). At that young age, I didn’t think acro was the sport for me, so I didn’t stick with it. I continued to dance and tumble while I watched my younger sister begin her acro career. Eventually, I decided to give it another try and my love for acro began and continues to grow.

After graduation, I moved to Columbia to attend Mizzou where I received a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. While attending college, I became an assistant coach for Columbia Acro and Tumbling Team (CATT). Eventually I took over as head coach and that is what I continue to do today. Sharing my love for acro with my own athletes, region 4 athletes and now my own children has been my favorite part of my journey as a coach and also Region 4 Director.

Angie Layne – Region 5 Acrobatic Gymnastics Regional Director

I fell in love with acro at a young age as an athlete. We had few gymnastics options in our area, but a former dance teacher had learned about the sport of acro in the late 70's and who was a pioneer in coaching. She started a team which I watched at a recital and made it my goal to make the team. I "made" the team in 1984 at 8 years old having to master a round off 3 back handsprings as well as an aerial cartwheel. I competed for 10 years in women's pair and women's trio, earning the silver medal at the 1994 National Championships in the Junior Elite trio division.

I took a break from the sport from 1994-2000 when I became involved with competitive All-Girl Cheerleading at Morehead State University where I was an athlete and then also coached while in graduate school. In 2001, I returned to the sport of Acro first as a judge, then in 2004 as a coach and gym owner. Although I sold Aerial's Athletics in 2017, I am still serving as the Head Coach. I have an earned National Superior rating as a judge entering my 20th season as well as have coached 11 Future Stars Members and 11 National Champions. I have also volunteered for close to 20 years serving as the Region 5 Technical Chair, Judges Coordinator, Growth & Development Representative, and most recent as the Administrative Chair. I also volunteered many hours at the 2012 World Championships at Walt Disney World serving as the Assistant Meet Director under Carisa Laughon. In recent years, I've added one more role to the umbrella which is the role of parent. Both of my daughters have competed in the sport with my youngest still involved as a Level 8 trio middle. I've enjoyed the 30 years I've spent engaged in this beautiful sport and look forward to many more to come.