Freshman Antone Wright’s career in athletics began like any other energetic kid.
“It started off as me being a hyperactive kid in the house,” Wright said. “I was always running around, breaking things.”
It wasn’t until Wright’s grandma noticed this behavior that he started his journey through gymnastics.
“She said, ‘If you flip, you’re going to learn how to do it right,’” Wright said. “That was her philosophy, and she was really the driving force behind my success. If it wasn’t for her, I would’ve never ended up finding gymnastics.”
Wright’s gymnastics career began when his grandma introduced him to Countryside Gymnastics, a USA Gymnastics member club, in his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina. If it wasn’t for her, Wright says he wouldn’t be competing at the collegiate level.
“Now I’ve made it all the way to Temple University,” Wright said. “I credit her with all my success.”
With the men’s gymnastics team slated to be cut on July 1, Wright is facing the strong possibility that this season could be his only one. But he’s not looking too far ahead.
“I’m taking it one day at a time,” Wright said. “I figure since I’ve established myself out here, I’ll continue to attend Temple maybe for another year or so. If a club program is still around, I’ll possibly do that, but I’m always open to transferring.”
For now, Wright said he is just happy to be under the guidance of Turoff.
“He is an individual who is so full of knowledge,” Wright said. “Even if you just met him for an hour, you would leave that hour learning something about yourself as a gymnast. Fred Turoff is indeed a pioneer in the sport of gymnastics, and I’m very lucky to train under him.”
Turoff said that while Wright was not recruited for the team, the walk-on freshman has been a pleasant surprise.
“This year, he’s on our ring team,” Turoff said. “He’s not as consistent on the skills as I would like, but he does do some very nice skills there. I push him to work on vault more though because I think he could add to our vault team.”
Co-captain John Leonard is excited about Wright’s potential in the sport.
“He definitely has a lot of raw talent,” Leonard said. “He has lots of power, which you can especially see on his dismounts on his vault. He just has to control his gymnastics skills a little more, but there’s a lot of potential there.”
Steve Bohnel can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @SteveSportsGuy1.