Thomasville native hopes to go out with bang in final year for GymDogs

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By: Joey Lamar | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
May 18, 2020

Georgia gymnast Sterlyn Austin during a gymnastics meet against Iowa State at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Sun., Jan. 20, 2020. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Thomasville native Sterlyn Austin has lived out her dream of competing for the Georgia Bulldogs in gymnastics for the past two years.

Austin hopes to have a break out year this winter, in what she says will be her last year on the team.

She has always competed above her age in gymnastics.

"It was lots of fun," Austin said. "Then I won state, too. That was fun and I have a record at Thomas County Central."

Austin's GHSA state titles in the all-around and the floor came in 2016. As a sophomore, the next year she moved to Athens and attended North Oconee High School and competed with Georgia Elite Gymnastics to hopefully gain the eye of UGA.

"I was excited about it," Austin said, "But then actually getting up there, leaving my friends, leaving my graduating class, the people that I grew up with, it was really hard. Especially my junior year. It was really hard."

Late in her senior year, Georgia showed interest. So Austin had to choose between being a GymDog and Western Michigan, the school where she had already committed.

"It took me a couple of months to realize it," Austin said, "Because Western Michigan felt like home to me. The culture was amazing, but then I just knew Georgia was it."

Austin says a left shin fracture sidelined her freshman year. Then she a right shin fracture delayed her sophomore year, but she was able to compete twice.

"They wanted me to get a rod in my shin," Austin said. "I didn't really want to do that because that would be life changing for me. I just prayed about it and it healed."

Probably her most impressive performance came in the classroom: Austin is set to graduate in next year after only three years.

"I actually would have graduated even earlier than that," Austin said, "Which is why I added on another major to try to stay longer."

Austin said she is studying for the LSAT and wants to attend UGA Law.

She said she currently has a 3.4 GPA and believes she needs a 3.5 for law school.