Former Redhawk gymnast joins coaching staff

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Southeast Missouri State women's gymnastics program has completed its coaching staff with the hiring of a former Redhawks standout.

Interim coach Kristi Ewasko recently announced the addition of Ashley Lawson as an assistant. She joins second-year assistant Jimmy Wickman for the 2010 season.

"I am excited to have Ashley as a new addition to my staff," Ewasko said in a news release. "She brings a very positive attitude and an abundance of enthusiasm to our program.

"She helped bring this program to new levels as a gymnast here and now she is dedicated to continuing the success of the program as a coach."

Lawson, formerly Ashley Godwin, rewrote Southeast's record books while competing for the Redhawks from 2001 through 2004.

Lawson holds Southeast records in four of the five individual events: bars (9.925), beam (9.975), floor (10.000) and all-around (39.550). She is one of only three gymnasts in Southeast history to record a perfect 10 in an individual event.

Overall, Lawson appears in the program's individual top-10 a record 12 times and is Southeast's only four-time NCAA individual regional qualifier on the Division I level.

Lawson, a native of Cape Coral, Fla., coached gymnastics at the Spectrum Training Center in Cape Girardeau before accepting the position at Southeast. From 2005 through 2008 she coached gymnastics at Suncoast Gymnastics Academy in Port Richey, Fla.

Lawson, a four-time Southeast Scholar Athlete, graduated from Southeast in 2005 with a degree in exercise science. She is married to former Southeast baseball player and current volunteer assistant Dave Lawson.

"I want to thank Coach Ewasko and Southeast Missouri State for allowing me this opportunity to return and coach at my alma mater," Lawson said in a news release. "My time as an athlete at SEMO was an amazing experience and I'm honored to be able to take part in giving the current Redhawks gymnasts the same, if not better, experience."

Gymnasts honored

The Southeast gymnastics team will be honored during a special presentation at halftime of Wednesday's men's basketball game against Southern Illinois-Carbondale at the Show Me Center.

Southeast earned its third straight national academic team championship with a school record 3.91 grade point average for the 2008-09 academic year. Southeast is only the second school in the nation to win the prestigious award three years in a row.

Southeast Deans, under the direction of the university Provost's office, elected to provide championship rings to the Redhawks in honor of their academic achievement.

Track starts strong

A scaled-back version of Southeast's track and field teams had high finishes at Friday's Saluki Fast Start Meet in Carbondale, Ill., the opening of the indoor season.

Southeast's men and women totaled seven top-three finishes. Leading the way were second-place performances by Audrey Harwood in the pole vault (11 feet, 1 3/4 inches) and Brandon Colbert in the weight throw (60-9 1/4).

Freshman Jerika Lewis had third-place finishes in the 200 meters (25.71 seconds) and 400 (58.53).

Also third on the women's side were Rachel Kahle in the 60 (7.83) and Brianna Egbuka in the shot put (44-11 3/4). Kahle was sixth in the 200 (25.92).

Ashley Brewer was fourth in the shot put (44-1 1/2) and fifth in the weight throw (54-2).

Others placing fourth were Jerica Hamm in the 600 (1:41.13), Sharoyah Davis in the 800 (2:28.55) and freshman Nikki Buchheit in the pole vault (11-8).

On the men's side, Joshua Uchtman was third in the shot put (53-9) and Chris Gill was fourth in the 600 (1:23.94). The 1,600 relay team of Ryan Criglar, Robert Delaria, Courtney Ellis and Tyler Terry placed fourth (3:27.32).

The Redhawks return to action Jan. 15 at the SASF Invitational in Carbondale.

-- From staff reports

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