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Franklin High School gymnast wins state club all-around gymnastics title

Posted at 6:36 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 19:39:10-04

Club sports for young athletes don't nearly get the coverage of WIAA sanctioned sports for high schoolers, but local gymnast Payton Harris recently won the state club all-around gymnastics title.

Harris has a set schedule.

"I get out of school early and then come right to the gym," Harris says. "We all warm up together and then we basically just go on each event, and then Mike has all the assignments ready to go for us. So basically we just get all of our numbers in and hit our routines."

Harris trains at M&M Gymnastics in New Berlin under the watchful eye of World All-Around champion and Olympic silver medalist Chellsie Memmel. Memmel what this means.

"It's tough, it's tough," Memmel says. "This is a hard sport. Obviously I'm biased, but I believe it's one of the toughest sports in the world, because it's almost like four in one - to be good and proficient on vault, bars, beam and floor."

"I've struggled with bars a little bit more out of the other events," Harris says. "But I really love competing floor and doing vault but over time I've learned to kind of love each event."

All the more impressive is that Harris has overcome a lot.

"I had a lot of mental blocks for awhile on each event," Harris says. "I struggled with that for awhile. I had to see a sports psychologist for a couple months. That was a really hard time for me but that really helped me move forward and grow."

After graduating from Franklin High School, Harris will be off to Ohio State to join the Buckeyes for the 2023 season.

"I just wanna have a good connection with the team and just really be there for everyone and hopefully one day win a national championship," Harris says.

"I think college is going to be a great place for her to learn and grow even more and just outside of the sport and in the sport," Memmel says. "I can't wait. I can't wait to see what she does separately and what they do as a team."

Harris is also a two-time Wisconsin state champion in two individual events, earning the 2019 floor title and 2021 bar title.

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