Level 10 gymnast Allison Zuhlke went into 2017 J.O. National Championships in Indianapolis on May 6-7 with a significant task at hand. She was determined to leave the meet with a vault named in her honor.
The vault was born out of an idea from her coach, Vitali Rudnitski, at around the midseason point of this year. Zuhlke was training a front handspring onto the springboard to front handspring onto the table with a front tuck off. Rudnitski came up with the idea of a front handspring onto the board right into a Tsukahara pike off. Zuhlke trusted his direction.
I was excited about his awesome idea and was very willing to try it.Just two weeks later, Zuhlke had the vault down. She knew she only had a short amount of time to learn it, as there was a competition coming up. She first competed it at The Alamo Classic.
I was pretty nervous and it took me a couple of tries to go for it in warm ups, but I did end up competing it very well.When it was time to compete the vault at nationals, Zuhlke felt the weight of the task at hand. She knew if she successfully completed the skill, it would be added to the J.O. Code of Points as "The Zuhlke," as she came through under the pressure.
FloGymnastics: How did it feel when you made it?
Zuhlke: When saluted for my first vault, I looked down at the judges table and saw like five people videoing me and others all standing there watching me. When I landed my first vault, I was super excited! All my coaches hugged me, and we were all very happy.
Check out 'The Zuhlke' below:
What was difficult about learning it?
First, I needed to get a Tsukahara, so I worked those into the pit. Once I got those down pretty well, I tried to add the front handspring. We first tried the whole thing together onto a porta pit instead of going straight to the table. I got that down so I then had to try it onto the table. I did lots of timers and eventually flipped. I think the hardest part about this vault is going from the front handspring into the Tsukahara because you have to be able to get your hands down fast enough to get a good block.
How does it feel to have a vault named after you, after all your hard work?
I am still trying to comprehend that a vault is named after me. It seems way too cool to be real. It's just very exciting and unbelievable.
What are your goals going forward?
I want to keep doing this vault and get a layout or tuck full by next season. My long-term goal for gymnastics would to get a college scholarship.
At J.O. Nationals, Zuhlke placed 28th overall and ninth on floor exercise with a 9.40 out of 57 gymnasts in the Junior C division. She trains at Salto Gymnastics in Waukesha, Wisconsin, under coaches Kristen Kremer, Brittany Hardison, Juliet Holden, and Rudnitski.
RESULTS: 2017 J.O. Nationals
WATCH: Top Routines From 2017 J.O. Nationals, Graber Scores 10.0 On Vault
Social Media Roundup: Glitter, Glam, & Gold At J.O. Nationals
Qualifiers: 2017 J.O. National Team