AIMING HIGH: Local Bartlesville gymnast receives appointment to Air Force Academy

Maj. Tony Greco, left, representing the Air Force Academy, presents Bartlesville High School recent graduate Kylee Greene with her appointment to the venerable institution. Greene is slated to compete in gymnastics with the school.
Maj. Tony Greco, left, representing the Air Force Academy, presents Bartlesville High School recent graduate Kylee Greene with her appointment to the venerable institution. Greene is slated to compete in gymnastics with the school.

Kylee Greene has done performed feats on gymnastics equipment that only a minuscule percentage of a minuscule percentage of people on this planet can do.

It’s small wonder that Greene also would beat the odds when it came to landing a spot in one of the nation’s toughest institutions to infiltrate.

It became official when the Bartlesville High School graduate received her official appointment, on a gymnastics scholarship, to the Air Force Academy.

More than 8,000 hopeful high school seniors from throughout the world applied for a spot at the Air Force Academy (AFA), which is located in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Greene is one of only 1,220 to succeed.

“It was great,” Greene said about receiving the formal certificate of appointment during the recent Bartlesville Gymnastics Club end-of-the-season banquet.

“I was so happy that I knew I was really in, to know that I got accepted,” she added.

Green’s qualifications to compete on the college level are impeccable.

Kylee Greene, Bartlesville Gymnastics Club, in competition in 2022.
Kylee Greene, Bartlesville Gymnastics Club, in competition in 2022.

This past spring, she qualified for the 2022 Women’s Development Program National Championships in Level 10 — the highest level to which an athlete can aspire.

Even more amazing — this was third Level 10 national competition Greene participated in, starting when she was a Bartlesville freshman.

She would have competed in four Level 10 nationals had it not been for the cancellation in 2020 due to the virus-related national sports shutdown, BGC Executive Director Lorrie Bertolet said.

“Kylee has left her mark as one of the top athletes to come out of Bartlesville,” Bertolet added.

In this year’s Level 10 national, held in Arizona, Greene powered to 15th place nationally in the floor exercise.

Afterward, a USA Gymnastics dignitary told Bertolet that “Kylee’s floor routine was his favorite floor routine he had ever seen. That was quite a compliment coming from someone so important in the gymnastics world.”

Some of Greene’s other achievements in gymnastics include:

  • Numerous individual state titles.

  • Level 8 All-Around regional champion.

  • Level 9 Western Nationals medalist on the floor, vault and All-Around.

  • Recipient of the Shannon Miller Award, giving out annually to only one gymnast in Oklahoma.

  • Athlete of the Year in 2018 for the BGC.

But, Greene’s impact doesn’t end with her in-the-arena accomplishments.

The repercussion of her total being has ignited a drumbeat of gratitude in Bertolet’s heart.

SCENE FROM THE PAST: Kylee Greene displays her grace during floor exercise competition in the 2017 Level 9 Western Nationals competition.
SCENE FROM THE PAST: Kylee Greene displays her grace during floor exercise competition in the 2017 Level 9 Western Nationals competition.

“She has enriched all of our lives,” Bertolet said. “I cannot wait to see what she accomplishes in life. She has always been like a daughter to me. I will miss her but will enjoy watching her continued growth as a gymnast and as a future leader in her life.”

Bertolet credited gymnastics for providing Greene a wealth of life’s lessons that has “built in her strength and character,” and help guide her through her new adventure.

“The Air Force Academy accepts only the best of the best,” according to prepared comments given by AFA’s Maj. Tony Greco at the BGC banquet. “She will join the long blue line, becoming an outstanding leader of character in the world’s greatest Air and Space Force.”

Greene first felt an interest in 2020 to consider the Air Force Academy as a possible destination.

“I started reaching out to the coaches. … That’s been my goal for a year-and-a-half,” she said.

Her future goal as far as gymnastics is “just to compete as an Air Force Falcon.”

Greene also acknowledged those who have helped elevate her to this opportunity.

“I appreciate all the encouragement I got from the coaches and the fellow gymnasts,” she said. “Everyone struggles now and then but they were always there for me. I’ll always appreciate them for that.”

Greene now hopes to take full advantage of the educational and athletic offerings at the AFA.

She plans to pursue studies in physical therapy, with a minor in Japanese, according to Greco.

Once a cadet finishes up education at AFA, he or she is earmarked to serve for five years in one of 33 Air Force or Space Air Force career fields.

Some pro sports greats that attended service academies and fulfilled a tour of duty before playing include Roger Staubach (Navy, Dallas Cowboys), Napoleon McCallum (Navy, Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders), Chad Hennings (Air Force, Dallas Cowboys), David Robinson (Navy, San Antonio Spurs). Glenn Davis (Army, L.A. Rams), Phil McConkey (Navy, several NFL teams) and Alejandro Villanueva (Army, Pittsburgh Steelers).

Greene won’t be the only Bartlesville High student represented in the AFA Class of 2026. Former Bruin football player Ridge Brewington also received an appointment to the venerable institution and an opportunity to play Falcon football.

This article originally appeared on Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise: Bartlesville grad, gymnast Kylee Greene appointed to Air Force Academy