50 Years of Greatness!
North Stars began in February 1973 as the North Jersey School of Gymnastics in St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church’s auxiliary building on Valley Road in Wayne, N.J. The now-deceased Paul Bohrer, a former Marine with knowledge about basic gymnastics technique, began the gym along with his wife, Edith, after years of coaching recreation programs and other gymnasts. The gym then launched its North Stars competitive team.
In January 1979, Paul Bohrer hired Tony Gehman, who was fresh out of college, and began steering North Stars toward an exciting new direction.
Gehman graduated from East Stroudsburg State College in Pennsylvania, where he competed in the NCAA Division 2 men’s gymnastics program under Bruno Klaus, later owner of the famed International Gymnastics Center (IGC).
1983 - Tony Gehman helped shape his first elite gymnast, Joyce Wilborn, who went on to become the first African American female gymnast to medal at a major international competition for the United States.
1985 - Gehman and his newly-married wife, Paula, a former Towson University, Maryland women’s gymnastics team member, whom he met at IGC where they were both working summer stints, purchased their first gymnastics center.
The Gehmans purchased North Jersey School of Gymnastics from the Bhorers and renamed it North Stars Gymnastics Academy, a 5,600 square-foot facility with two sets of bars and no foam pits in Fairfield, N.J.
1987 -The Gehmans purchased a second, larger facility in Parsipanny, N.J. and moved its competitive teams to this location.
Tony Gehman received State Coach of the Year Award, by USAG-NJ.
1991 -Tony Gehman received the distinguished honors of USAG International Coach of the Year; United States Elite Coaches Association Coach of the Year; and Coach of the U.S. Pan American team.
1997 - The North Stars’ Parisppany and Fairfield locations merged into one gym in Montville, N.J.
2002 - The present-day Boonton, N.J. became home to North Stars Gymnastics Academy.
Tony and Paula Gehman and North Stars Coach John Wojtczuk awarded State Coaches of the Year by USAG-NJ.
2008 - Tony Gehman awarded Junior Olympic Coach of the Year by USAG
2015-North Stars named New Jersey Gymnastics Club of the Year by USAG-NJ.
Region 7 Club of the Year by USAG Region 7.
Junior Olympic National Club of the Year.
Tony and Paula Gehman receive the Master of Sports award by USA Gymnastics.
2016 - Tony Gehman named United States Elite Coaches Association National Junior Olympic Coach of the Year.
2018 - The Gehmans moved out of state and relinquished daily gym operations to North Stars alumni and two-time U.S. National Team member Ashley (Miller) Umberger, part owner who serves as CEO and Head Team Coach.
Tony Gehman now runs a national gymnastics training consulting business
Famous North Stars Alumni
THE LEGACY CONTINUES
As North Stars prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2023, it continues to shine bright in the world of gymnastics with national medalists, NCAA Division 1 recruits earning full academic scholarships, and two athletes training on behalf of foreign nations for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
The gym currently serves more than 375 athletes representing 285 families and growing!
The gym’s full-time coaches are committed and passionate about what they do. They work year-round as a cohesive team to implement a carefully planned training regimen designed to boost each athlete’s ability so they can reach — and in most cases, surpass their performance goals.
Although North Stars offers recreational classes to children as young as three and competitive leagues consisting of varying levels of commitment, it also nurtures talent so that athletes may blossom into nationally- and internationally-ranked athletes, who are on the radar of NCAA scouts and coaches, whom frequently visit the gym to scope out its talent.
To date, North Stars has had 36 athletes qualify elite, including Olivia Kelly and Alana Walker, who represent the nations of Barbados and Jamaica, respectively. Walker also took first place at U.S. Women’s Development Level 10 national meet in 2021 for her age group. Kelly placed third all-around in her age division at Level 10 nationals in 2022. Kelly will be the first North Stars gymnast to compete at the World Gymnastics Championships.
North Stars has had medalists at the USA Championships, Goodwill Games, Pan American Games, Pacific Alliance Championships as wells as competitions in France, South Korea, England, Russia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Brazil, Jamaica, China, Canada, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Cuba, U.S. Olympic Trials and more.
We pride ourselves on our ability to help some 100 North Stars build the skills to secure spots on gymnastics teams at America’s Ivy League universities and college scholarships. throughout the nation including:
-Elaine Alfano, University of Utah ’s first gymnast to become a three-time consecutive NCAA vault champion
-Alicia Boren, University of Florida Gators’ 2016-2019 alumni, who earned the 2019 NCAA Division 1 National Floor Exercise title and first girl ever to win four consecutive all-around U.S Women’s Development Level 10 titles with North Stars.
USAG Level 10 National AA Titles
- Rachel Lukacs won three all-around USAG Level 10 national titles and became the Nastia Cup champion in 2016. She accepted a full scholarship to compete for the University of Georgia from 2019-2022.
North Stars’ long list of impressive alumni often come back to train during their summers off from college and coach/work with its athletes. We are grateful to so many of them who serve as positive role models and generously share their knowledge and love of the sport with the generations after them.
U.S.A. Gymnastics National Team Members
North Stars Gymnastics Academy has qualified nine national athletes onto the U.S.A. National Women’s Gymnastics Team, many with incredible accomplishments — some of which have been highlighted, including:
• Joyce Wilborn 1986 Goodwill Games bronze medalist on vault, only medalist from a non-Soviet or Eastern Bloc country, medalist in the Pacific Alliance Championship in China; medalist in Moscow News - a major international invitational in Russia; scored three perfect 10s in the U.S. Olympic Festival.
• Anne Woynerowski (now Meade) First U.S. female gymnast to ever perform a layout 1-1/2 twist Yurchenko vault and all-around USA Gymnastics Jr. International champion; Pan American Games gold medalist, Junior Pacific Alliance gold medalist; went onto compete on full scholarship as the University of New Hampshire' Served as assistant coach at Pitt and Rutgers universities.
• Traci Sommers (now Stanard) Won the American Classic and qualified for 1992 U.S. Olympic trials and medaled in both the Golden Sands, Bulgaria and the Pacific Alliance, South Korea meets before accepting a full athletic scholarship to compete for the University of Utah. Traci now works with the North Stars athletes and parents concerning wellness, mental health, performance and sports nutrition.
• Li Li Leung, Perhaps, one of the most notable alumni. Leung, a former University of Michigan gymnastics team member, went on to serve as the vice president of the National Basketball Association and in 2019 became president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, the sport’s official national governing body.
• Michelle Manzolillo Member of the U.S.A. national gold medal team at the Junior Pan American Artistic Gymnastics Championships in 1988 in Puerto Rico. She later competed on full scholarship for Penn State.
• Lisa Gianni Came in 15th all-around beam at the 1993 U.S. Gymnastics Championships. Later went ton to compete on full scholarship for the University of Alabama.
• Nicole Kilpatrick Gold medalist at the Pan American Championships in Colombia. Finished her gymnastics career on full scholarship at Utah State University, where she scored a 9.925 on vault at the Western Gymnastics Conference, marking the school’s second best score in its history at the time.
• Ashley Miller North Stars Head Coach since 2018 and part owner, two-time U.S.A. National Gymnastics Team member, gold medalist on floor exercise at the U.S. Classic in 1997, international experience competing in France. Later went onto to compete on full scholarship for the University of Georgia.
• Alyssa Beckerman World Team Trials third place all-around in Kansas City in 1999, third all-around at the 2000 U.S. Classic in Oklahoma. Later went onto compete on full scholarship for UCLA.
On display at North Stars Gymnastics Academy is a wall of stars showcasing the dozens of athletes by name who have excelled onto national and international scenes as elite gymnasts. Many of these exceptional athletes have gone on to compete in top-tier NCAA programs.
1. Lindsey Aagre
2. Simone Banen, George Washington University
3. Becky Bank
4. Gina Basile, University of Alabama
5. Alyssa Beckerman, UCLA
6. Jamie Boccia
7. Amy Borsellino, University of Arkansas
8. Eileen Carry, University of Pittsburgh
9. Danielle Clark, University of Rhode Island
10. Samantha Cortez, University of Arkansas
11. Noel Couch, University of Georgia
12. Debbie DeMasi, University of Georgia
13. Ashley Foss, University of Georgia
14. Lisa Gianni, University of Alabama
15. Sarah Gibson, University of Pittsburgh
16. Megan Greenwood
17. Michelle Ilg, Penn State
18. Nicole Kilpatrick, Utah State University
19. Melissa Kilpatrick, Utah State University
20. Alonza Klopfer, University of Alabama
21. Li Li Leung, University of Michigan
22. May May Leung, University of Michigan
23. Michelle Manzolillo, Penn State
24. Dina Margolin, University of Georgia
25. Ashley Miller, University of Georgia
26. Sandra Park
27. Cheryl Potacco, North Carolina State University
28. Marla Ranieri, Stanford
29. Stacy Robak
30. Nicole Romano
31. Brooke Siter
32. Traci Sommer, University of Utah
33. Joyce Wilborn
34. Anne Woynerowski, University of New Hampshire
35. Alana Walker*, TBD
36. Olivia Kelly*, TBD, first to qualify for World’s