Gymnast dies after training accident
Hunter O. Lyle — Sports Editor
By Sam Tapper– Sports Writer
On Sunday night, three-year gymnastics athlete Melanie Coleman, a junior majoring in nursing, died after a severe injury she sustained while training on Friday.
“Her coaches and professors describe Melanie as a special young woman, who excelled both in the classroom and in the gym,” said President Joe Bertolino.“Our deepest sympathies are extended to her family and friends on this tragic loss.”
While Coleman, 20, joined the gymnastics team during her freshman year, she had been practicing gymnastics since she was 2-years-old, becoming specialized in practicing gymnastics on the beam.
As an All-State Select and a Team MVP at Jonathan Law High School in her hometown of Milford, Conn., Coleman came to Southern with high regards.
Throughout the majority of her career with gymnastics, including two years during her time at Southern, she practiced gymnastics alongside her sister Tiffany Coleman, who graduated last year.
Most recently, Coleman was part of seven gymnastics studentathletes that were honored as Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association Scholastic All-American winners in August. This was her second time being honored after her first time in spring of 2019.
According to former teammate Brianna Rovella, senior, with her great sense of humor and bubbly personality, Melanie was a person you wanted to be around.
“Melanie was the light in everyone’s life,” said Rovella.” [She] put a smile on every single face that walked into the room. She was one of the most hardworking people I had ever met in my life. She had a passion for nursing and was always striving for excellence in her school work and in her gymnastics career.”
According to senior gymnast Jackie Kutcher, not only was Melanie a “incredible teammate” but she was a reliable friend.
“She just loved life and soaked up ecery moment she could,” said Kutcher. “She was an incredible teammate and friend and was always there or anybody anyway she could be. Melanie was a bright and bubbly spirit and we know that she will be looking down upon us. Our team will never be the same without her but we will do everything our power to honor her.”
Photo credit: John Steady