Garrett Aleckson —
The road to the National College Gymnastics Association (NCGA) National Championship is typically tough for most teams.
For the University of Wisconsin–Stout gymnastics team, the road was especially rough. The story of their season involved their struggle through injury.
“It was hard because we had so many injuries throughout the season. We lost one of our top all-around gymnasts due to a torn Achilles in the middle of the season,” said Kaylee Jondahl (Jr, Elk River, Min.). “It was hard, but everyone stepped up when they needed to in order to fill the spots created by the injuries. There are always positives to look at—and we ended the season on a good note.”
The Blue Devils had three gymnasts compete at the NCGA Nationals: Jondahl, Randi Schorzman (Sr, Buckley, Was.) and Kelly Huseman (Jr, Tampa, Fla.). Fewer members of the team made it to the Nationals than usual, and it was noticed.
“Nationals this year was different compared to last year. Last year we had the whole team there, and this year there were three of us there,” said Jondahl. “The whole team supported us and watched online, but it is a lot more fun when the entire team is there and we are sharing the experience together.”
Schorzman finished her collegiate career with a good performance. On the balance beam she scored a 9.650, placing seventh. Huseman performed well on the balance beam and the vault. She scored a 9.50 on the vault, and a 9.525 on the beam. She finished thirteenth in both. Jondahl broke the floor record yet again. She posted a 9.90 on the floor routine to break the record.
Even though she had broken records last season, she still was pushed by coaches and by herself to improve. It took time, but it paid off for her.
“My coaches knew I had it in me to do a harder routine on the floor exercise. Although I was not really excited to do it in the routine, I finally believed in myself and made the routine by the third meet of the season,” said Jondahl. “From there, I just practiced as if I was in a competition every day, and just doing what I needed to do in order to beat the record again—which was one of my goals for the season.”
While the team will hope to have fewer injuries next season, Jondahl believes that more will go into the team’s chances of improvement for next season.
“For the team to improve next year, everyone needs to be fully in. You have to be all in, and give it your all. I think if we all give it our all from the beginning instead of waiting for a specific moment, we should be good,” said Jondahl. “Next year we host Nationals, so I think it would be fun for us to all be there representing Stout.”