Country roads are home for the Yanceys


Prasham Jobanputra

The Yancey family poses for a picture at Kayla’s signing of her national letter of intent.

Two peas in a pod is the best way to describe sisters Kianna and Kayla Yancey. Both sisters are talented gymnasts, who will be graduating this year to attend West Virginia University to compete and pursue their love of the sport at the division 1 level.

For the Yancey sisters, gymnastics is in their blood. With their mom being a part of the North Penn gymnastic team when it existed, and later opening her own gym, the Yanceys were exposed to the sport as soon as they could walk.  Growing up, the sisters also tried other sports to get a feel for what they liked.

Submitted Photo
Kianna performing on the uneven bars and Kayla on the balance beam.

“We both did diving, and I always went back and forth between the two trying to decide which one was my favorite. Kayla always knew gymnastics was her favorite,” explained Kianna.  

This past year, Kianna decided to participate one last time for the diving team and ended up achieving third place in the state.

After trying diving, the Yanceys always knew that the gym was their favorite place because it felt like home.  

Competing on the same mat made a competitive, but also supportive, edge for the sisters. Both sisters want to win, but most importantly, they also wanted to see each other succeed as well.

“We support each other, but if one of us gets a new skill, the other one will want to try to get it too. It’s never been about placing or who does better though,” stated Kianna.

“I think you always need to have someone who helps you motivate yourself to want to be better,” explained Kayla.

Not only being at school together, but also spending almost all of their free time at the gym, the Yanceys have always been and keep growing closer as time goes on.

Kianna explained, “Everything we’ve done, we’ve always done together.”

“We are together twenty-four seven. We have the same friends from gymnastics, we have traveled almost half the country together,” Kayla stated.  

Besides constantly being together for gymnastics, the Yanceys have always been together in school. With Kayla being a year below Kianna, the sisters always knew they weren’t too far from each other, but this past November, that changed when Kayla found out that she had the opportunity to graduate a year early with her sister Kianna.

“My college coaches at West Virginia couldn’t see me and Kianna being seperated for a year, so they came up with the idea for me to graduate a year early. They offered me a 2019 scholarship and let me choose from there what year I wanted to begin attending. I thought it was a great opportunity so I decided to take it,” explained Kayla.

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Kayla (left) and Kianna (right) will attend West Virginia University

Skipping a whole year of high school is pretty much unheard of, but Kayla found a way to do it. After finding out she had the option to graduate early in late November, Kayla knew she had to work her tail off to make it happen.  

Kayla said, “A week or two after I found out about graduating early, I had to set up online classes. I had to take four online classes and then change my schedule around here at North Penn and add in another class here. I ended up not having a lunch because I took eight classes in school everyday and then the four online classes after school.”  

Trying to balance an extra five classes on top of her already crazy schedule would be a challenge, but Kayla’s determination helped her complete her work and classes way earlier than she needed too.

“It was not easy. There were a lot of mental breakdowns but on the weekends I would give myself the goal of completing a certain percentage of the class I wanted to get done. I feel like I am very determined so I would not go to sleep until I finished what I wanted,” explained Kayla.

Both sisters have always had tremendous support in their lives whether it was in school, at gymnastics, or friends. This support came from their parents, and the Yancey sisters could have not gotten where they are today without their parents support.  

“Our parents have always been open to talking, so whenever we’ve had a problem at gymnastics or school we knew we could always go to them for help. They have always been open to everything that we had to say. Our parents always wanted us to communicate with them about our feelings, which definitely helped with the mental aspect of everything. Also, they made sure to be at all of our meets, make us meals and all the things that parents do,” stated Kianna.

From doing everything together to being a four hour car ride away, would be a huge adjustment for Kianna and Kayla, so they are glad to be taking this huge step of graduating and attending college together.

“I would not like to go by myself to college. Me and Kayla are kind of like a package deal so it all works out,” stated Kianna.   

Going to the same college was not the plan at first for the Yanceys. They both were looking for the school that fit best with gymnastics and academically and West Virginia was the best fit for Kianna and Kayla.    

“We didn’t really care if we went to the same college or not, but we can’t picture our lives without each other. When we went to West Virginia we both fell in love with the school itself and the coaches,” explained Kayla.

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The Yancey family visited Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Kianna stated, “It was like the first time we stepped on campus, we both knew it was the one and we called our parents telling them this is the school. I feel like the team and everyone there was so welcoming so it was an easy choice. Everyone made us feel like we belonged there.”  

Both sisters are not 100% sure of what they want to major in exactly, but Kianna will be studying psychology either in the sports category or to become a consular. Kayla will be studying to become a nurse and has recently been thinking about nutrition as well.   

Once at West Virginia, the Yanceys will be continuing to set and achieve more and more goals.

“I want to continue to get good grades and keep them as high as they were in high school, while also becoming a better athlete,” stated Kayla.   

“Staying well rounded and keeping up with everything such as meets and school work is important to me. I’m not sure how much more work is going to be thrown our way, but I would like to stay on top of it,” explained Kianna.

Kianna and Kayla are excited to get to continue competing in meets and living together for the next four years. Their journey together is just beginning and the goals they will accomplish at West Virginia are endless. Supporting and cheering each other on is something Kianna and Kayla will continue throughout their lives no matter where they end up.