Mardi Dagley: Flipping to Coaching


The heat of sweat, the smell of chalk, the sight of blisters — the gymnastics gym is no stranger to these sensations. Lakota West Varsity Gymnastics coach, Mardi Dagley, knows best. Dagley first became a gymnast herself when she was 11 years old after watching the Olympics. Dagley remarks, “I was instantly hooked and couldn’t get enough.” Dagley actually competed with Lakota East in her high school days. But, since the 2014 season, Dagley has been coaching the joint East and West team. However, recently Dagley has worked to expand the reputation of Lakota Gymnastics beyond the mat, even being named all Southwest Ohio coach of the year three times.

Dagley is a huge influence on the reputation that the Lakota West Varsity Gymnastics team holds; however, it is the gymnasts who put their blood, sweat, and tears into their routines, desperate for wins. Dagley knows that she can’t control every aspect of her team but she says her goal is to “leave the meet knowing that we gave it 100% and to have no regrets.” Recently, the gymnastics team placed second in the Oak Hills invitational. 

While many people argue that gymnastics is an individual-oriented sport, Dagley has worked to foster a team-oriented group. In gymnastics clubs, girls competing as individuals focus on their own events. However, Lakota gymnastics is focused on a team-driven sport. Girls rely on the others to help cheer each other on and help get over mistakes. They relish in the fact that they are from rival schools, and the relationships they form are beyond East and West. “It doesn’t matter which schools each girl is from, they all push each other to be better.”  The gymnastics team, aided by Dagley truly encapsulates the transcendence of sportsmanship over school rivalry. As far as gymnastics goes, Dagley sees nothing but bright things in the future.