Jeanne Foster is one of a kind.
The winner of the Virginia high school all-around girls gymnastics title in 1984, Foster has accomplished her feat despite representing a school that has had little gymnastic talent in past years.
Foster, an eight-year veteran of the sport, won the district's all-around championships in her sophomore and junior years.
The braces on her teeth and her shoulder-length, strawberry blond hair give Foster the look she describes as "your normal, basic high school student."
But Foster is not the norm academically. She has maintained a 3.6 grade-point average and hopes to earn a scholarship to the University of California or Stanford.
A U.S. Gymnastics Federation member since she was 10 years old, Foster has competed as a Class 1 gymnast. Twice, she tried out for elite status, the USGF's highest, but was unable to score high enough.
"If I could do it all over again," said Foster, "I would have stayed (with clubs only) and become an elite for my own satisfaction."
But as a club (Pete's Club of Alexandria) Class 1 gymnast, Foster's level of performance is far superior than that of most other high school performers.
"In dual meets, I know I've been in gymnastics the longest, which gives me an advantage," Foster said. "But you have to always know there is someone out there who can beat you. It keeps you on your toes."
David Yonkie, Lee's coach, gives Foster credit for the strides gymastics has made at Lee, although the team has yet to become a contender in the district.
Yonkie, who came to Lee the same year as Foster, said, "Jeanne has helped to make Lee a more respected school in the district. They (Lee) used to be considered a doormat in the district.
And, he emphasized, "It helps her to be in the underdog situation. She performs better."
"It would be nice if we had a stronger team," said Foster. "As of now, I can still win the state on my own. It's just disappointing we can't go as a team.
"I think I give them confidence. The team before wasn't very good."
Foster has a triple back handspring as part of her routine on the beam and can do a full-on, full-off in the vault. She considers herself more graceful than strong, and so usually scores highest on the beam and in floor exercise.
The beam, which often makes or breaks female gymnasts, is Foster's strongest event.
"Grace and flexiblity are my strong points. What I have is form, which helps my routines to look nice. Certain crowd-pleaser moves help increase my scores," said Foster.
Coming off a state championship, Yonkie feels Foster has a lot of pressure on her. "Winning the state (all-around) is standard now, and this is hard for her."
Foster helps the other Lee gymnasts as much as she can.
"The girls need her in the gym because she really inspires them," said Yonkie. "She can offer them an angle of insight from a competitors' point of view."
Vicky Volentine is Foster's main competition in the region. Volentine is competing in high school gymnastics for the first time as a senior at Oakton.
"If one of us beats the other one, we would want to do it in club (competition)," Foster said. "We're both out for scholarships and they (the colleges) look at the club meets more than high schools."
Foster said her main sense of accomplishment comes from the discipline she has gained from having high goals and achieving them.