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2020 ALL-COUNTY CO-GYMNAST OF THE YEAR: Ella Castellanos, West Forsyth
Ella Castellanos
West Forsyth senior Ella Castellanos is the 2020 Forsyth County News Co-Gymnast of the Year after a decorated career with the Wolverines. - photo by Ben Hendren

Ella Castellanos doesn't have one single favorite moment at West Forsyth.

It's more like three.

A member of West Forsyth's gymnastics program for all four years, Castellanos was part of three state championship teams.

There was the first state title in 2017 — the school's first team title — when the Wolverines snapped Buford's three-year winning streak with a spectacular team score of 114.167.

From there, West Forsyth started a streak of its own, winning state championships in 2018 and 2019, with the latter coming on a tiebreaker against county rival Lambert.

“We just really all worked together and worked hard my freshman year," Castellanos said. "Then whenever we realized we could actually win this thing, we were like, ‘Ok, we need to step it up.’ We ended up winning, and then we had to keep working for the next two.”

Castellanos, who is the Forsyth County News Co-Gymnast of the Year, finished first in uneven bars (9.600) at last year's Class 6A-7A state meet, while placing second on the balance beam (9.300) and in all-around, and fourth in floor exercise (9.225).

Ella Castellanos
- photo by Ben Hendren
Castellanos and the Wolverines were aiming for a fourth straight state championship before the spring season was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic.

West Forsyth returned a talented nucleus from last year's squad, including Castellanos, Olivia Blakely, Natalie Force, Michaeline Schmeelk, Hallie Stocker, while adding a few talented newcomers in Makaya Fofana, Jadyn Neuhaus and Mani Fofana.

Castellanos grew up with many of her teammates.

“Some of them do club, so I’ve known them basically my whole life because I’ve done gymnastics my whole life," Castellanos said. "So we’re really close.”

That's not much of an exaggeration, either. Castellanos started with gymnastics when she was just 2 years old.

She admits the past couple of months have been difficult because the shutdown has forced her to go without the elements of gymnastics she enjoys most.

“I guess the feeling of coming out of competition successful and getting new skills and practicing with my teammates,” she said.

This fall, Castellanos will travel halfway across the country and compete for the University of Nebraska's gymnastics team.

The Cornhuskers finished third in the Big Ten in 2019, sending a pair of gymnasts to the NCAA National Championships to compete as individuals. 

“It was just somewhere I’ve always wanted to go," Castellanos said. "The coaches were really nice and the team seems cool.”