Lone Male Gymnast Competes on Female Dominated Squad


Junior Phoenix Everett is the only competing gymnast to represent the male gymnastics team. He joined his freshman year, and now as a junior, he competes alone for his school. "I feel like it's is a team sport," He said. "When we compete, it's individual, but we're really a team – we're a family."

Phoenix Everett is his own team.

When his school’s name is called at a gymnastics competition, he is the only one to slather chalk on his hands and stride towards the 6 1/2 foot parallel bars. When he grips the bars and hoists himself into a handstand, the guys on the opposing teams shout his name.

Everett is the only competing gymnast to represent the male gymnastics team. He joined his freshman year, and now as a junior, he competes alone for his school.

“I joined the RHS gymnastics team because I liked flips – and I wanted to do more flips,” Everett said.

The RHS team is part of an overall RISD gymnastics squad with athletes competing from all four high schools. Although Everett has one male teammate from RHS, junior Elijah Montague, he is new to the team so he doesn’t compete.

“I joined the team because Phoenix had been competing and told me that it was a good workout, that it was a lot of fun, and that he liked flips,” Montague said.

Although not a member of the competitive team, Montague often goes to meets with Everett.

“The people at the meets often encourage each other while competing no matter the rivalries, and a lot of the athletes strive to do well in their event,” Montague said.

Despite not competing, Montague says being on the team is worth it.

“Gymnastics isn’t the same without competing,” Montague said. “You don’t get to experience the complete vibe at the meets. But, I have a lot of friends through the gymnastics team, and surrounding myself with other hard working individuals creates a good environment to work out in.”

The men’s team not only practices with the women’s team, but also competes in the same meets.

“We all interact every day at practice, but the first time I remember a guy on the guy’s team talking to me was at my first meet,” Senior Collin Grant said. “He started cheering for me, and I was like ‘whoa, how’d you know my name?’ And from then on, I just think I’ve been good friends with all the guys on our gymnastics team.”

However, Grant says that the meets aren’t really where the girls and guys teams bonded.

“I think the bus rides are really where we all get closer because during the meets, we compete together, but we don’t really talk or hang out as much,” Grant said. “But I think our team is the way that it is because of the bus rides, because we are all kind of stuck in there, and it’s normally traffic-y. So, we all just have a good time.”

Because the gymnasts are from different high schools, they ultimately compete against each other. Everett said they are a team, and they support each other every step of the way, whether it be at practice or at a competition.

“I feel like it’s is a team sport,” Everett said. “When we compete, it’s individual, but we’re really a team – we’re a family.”