MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University gymnastics coach Jason Butts has announced the addition of three student-athletes for the 2023-24 academic year.
Joining the Mountaineers are Julia Brown (Coraopolis, Pennsylvania), Jurnee Lane (LaVergne, Tennessee), and Jayden McDonnell (Northport, New York).
“As a whole, this class has strengths that complement one another,” Butts said. “They show great leadership qualities, and each recruit has events and skills that will help them make an immediate impact on strengthening our lineups. We are thrilled to have them join our team!”
Jurnee Lane / LaVergne, Tennessee
A LaVergne, Tenn., native, Lane attends Stewarts Creek High School and is a four-year Level 10 gymnast for coach Matt Baker at Let It Shine Gymnastics. Rated a three-star recruit by College Gym News, Lane competed at the 2022 Level 10 National Championships, where was the national champion on floor exercise. Lane also placed fourth on the all-around at nationals.
She earned a spot at the national meet after tallying top-10 finishes on all four events, including the all-around, at the Region 8 Regional Championships. At regionals, she was named to the Region 8 All-Star Team. Additionally, Lane was the Tennessee state champion on balance beam and floor in 2022.
The daughter of Tony and Leeanne, Lane plans to major in sport management at WVU.
“I chose WVU because everyone there is one big happy family,” Lane said. “The girls on the team welcomed me in wholeheartedly, and the coaches have made it feel like home since my first visit.”
“Jurnee is going to make an impact quickly here at WVU,” associate head coach Travis Doak said. “She doesn’t have a weak event, and she has the ability to stick landings effortlessly and her gymnastics keeps improving as she gets older. She has shown such interest in the team since her commitment to WVU. It is always exciting to have an athlete that already seems so invested before they even arrive on campus as a freshman.”
Jayden McDonnell / Northport, New York
McDonnell hails from Northport, N.Y., and attends Northport High School. She is a seven-year Level 10 gymnast for coach Tammy Marshall at Infiniti Elite Gymnastics. She most recently qualified for the 2021 Level 10 National Championships, where she earned top-20 finishes on uneven bars and the all-around. McDonnell earned her spot at nationals after recording top-five finishes on every event, including a first-place finish on the all-around, at the Region 6 Regional Championships.
Additionally, McDonnell has competed at the Junior Olympic Nationals three times, with appearances in 2016, 2017 and 2019. Her top finishes at JO Nationals include a 15th-place finish on floor exercise in 2017 and a 16th-place finish on bars in 2019.
The daughter of John McDonnell and Mariel Goldman, McDonnell plans to major in sports marketing at WVU.
“I chose WVU for the team atmosphere,” McDonnell said. “It felt like a family, and the minute I stepped on campus I knew I was home.”
“Jayden brings a wealth of competition experience to our program,” Doak said. “Jayden has been a strong, Level 10 athlete for seven years, and she has skills on each event that will make for excellent, NCAA-level routines. She could come in the door and anchor our bar lineup as a freshman, which is so exciting. When she decided on WVU, we were beyond thrilled about how she can help this program move forward.”
Julia Brown / Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
Brown is a native of Coraopolis, Pa., where she attends Moon Area High School. She is a two-year Level 10 gymnast for coach Jennie Floyd at Lions Gymnastics Club. In 2021, Brown qualified for the Level 10 National Championships, where she tied for second place on beam. Also at nationals, she earned personal bests on all four events. At the 2019 Level 9 State Championships, she reached the podium on all four events, including a first-place finish on the all-around.
Additionally, Brown also qualified to the 2018 Level 9 National Championships, tallying a second-place finish on balance beam, a fifth-place finish on floor exercise and a sixth-place finish on the all-around.
The daughter of Richard Brown and Rebecca Sjolinder, Brown plans to major in nursing at WVU.
“I chose WVU because of the people, the atmosphere and the amazing nursing program,” Brown said. “The people, especially the girls on the team, are very welcoming every time I have been there for a camp or a visit. They are always encouraging each other and have so much respect for the coaches. The atmosphere is so fun during the practices and at meets.”
“Julia is one of those athletes the team and fans are going to love,” Doak said. “She has an endearing personality that was a huge hit when she met our team. Julia is continuing to improve, and we believe she will come in and make an impact to our beam lineup immediately.”