Friday, January 9th, 2014 marks the opening meet of the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Season. Many of you know that I follow women's gymnastics because I have a 21 year old niece that is a competitive gymnast. She attends NC State University and competes for the Wolf Pack. Their opening meet against Denver is Friday evening at 7 p.m.
Lane has been doing the sport of Gymnastics since she was 4 years old. This year will be her last year because she is a senior and will be graduating in May. I have loved every minute of watching her compete, practice, travel to cool places and do her thing. She is tall for a gymnast at 5 feet 7 inches in height, but those long legs are graceful and strong, yet lean and gorgeous. Its sheer joy to watch her compete. This year she is expected to compete in the all-around which means she will be doing all four events. She has always excelled on the floor and beam and has also done well on the vault and most recently bars. Besides being a senior and the captain of the NCSU WolfPack, she maintains a high grade point average and and great attitude. I am in awe of everything this 21 year old has accomplished in just over two decades of her life.
Lane and her younger team mates are ranked first in the EAGL conference. I love attending the meets in person but am thankful that both ESPN and the college networks televise the meets so we can watch when attending in person isn't an option. Its not as exciting watching it at home, but I have to commend NC State on how they feature all of the gymnasts from each school and not just their own team as many of the other universities tend to do. This means anyone can watch the meets and enjoy the full competition. There are several extraordinarily talented juniors, including Michaela and Brittany as well as a rather impressive freshmen class that will compete.
If you have never been to a college gymnastics meet, you should go and take your little local gymnast with you to experience it first hand. Its very exciting to watch and cheer on the gals that are competing. I don't say this because I have a family member that is a gymnast. I can tell you that these gals, their coaches, and families have all worked very hard to get to this level of sport. Its a shame there are no 'professional' gymnastics teams or college draft rounds for gymnastics like we have for football, baseball and basketball. Once the 4 years is up, these girls move on to careers and lives, often outside of the gymnasium and they have very successful careers most of the time. There are many local gymnastic teams in the Raleigh area that come to every home meet and cheer on the team. Then they wait patiently after the meet to get the girls autographs. Some are lucky to catch a NCSU gymnastics tee-shirt that the girls scoring 9.0 or above throw into the crowd for each event. They look up to these athletes and hope to be like them some day.
I believe gymnastics has taught the girls the importance of being on time, being responsible, how to compete and be part of a team, being organized and never giving up. The discipline it takes to be a top notch student and a competitive gymnast must be something each one of them is born with or learns at an early age. Not only do they focus on nutrition and fitness, but they also learn to give back to society by helping others in need as often as they can. They train hard year round, not just during the season. They suffer injuries and bounce back. They have many NCAA rules that they must follow and adhere to if they are on scholarship. They work hard for about 6 minutes of competition time each week during regular season.
I wish the Wolf Pack a great 2015 Gymnastics season and hope that some of you will be able to watch a meet. Their schedule can be found at: http://www.gopack.com/sports/w-gym/sched/ncst-w-gym-sched.html
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