By Marty Gordon
Radford High gymnast Brenna Mills has announced her intentions to take her talents to the next level at the Air Force Academy.
Mills signed a letter of intent this past week in the high school’s gymnasium in front of family, friends and U.S. Congressman Morgan Griffith, who secured the appointment to the military academy.
“I chose the Air Force Academy because it offers everything I could ask for in a college: world renowned academics and facilities, and the opportunity to not only compete on the gymnastics team but to serve my country after I graduate,” Mills said.
Mills was level 10 Virginia state vault champion and came in fifth place on the bars and floor this year and was Region 7 sixth-place vault medalist. She has trained at the Virginia Techniques facility in Christiansburg since she was 5 and has competed out of the gym because Radford High didn’t have a gymnastics team.
“I’ve loved gymnastics since I was 5, and with the Air Force Academy being the only service academy that offers women’s gymnastics, it felt right to continue my gymnastics career as a Lady Falcon,” Mills said.
She is the first individual from Radford to be accepted to the academy in more than 20 years.
“We saw a map at the Air Force Academy of Virginia, and there were pinpoints where all the cadets came from, and the closest one to Radford, I think, was Marion. So whenever I get there, I’ll get to get my little pin and put Radford on the map,” Mills said.
The United States Air Force Academy is a United States service academy immediately north of Colorado Springs.. The school has an enrollment of 4,304 students. The men’s and women’s athletic programs compete in NCAA‘s Division I with most teams competing in the Mountain West Conference. However, the gymnastics teams compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
Last month, the Falcons took second place at the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Nationals with a team score of 195.650, the third-highest score in program history.
Texas Women’s University edged out Air Force for first place, recording a 196.025.
Mills said she considers it an honor to represent Southwest Virginia this way.
“I hope news of my appointment will reach those in Southwest Virginia who are thinking about applying to a service academy so they can know that it doesn’t matter where you come from, only who you are and what you’re willing to do to reach your dreams,” she said.
At Radford High, Mills has a 4.24 grade-point-average.
At the Air Force Academy, Mills hopes to major in either biological sciences or some type of engineering.