There were a significant number of freshmen making an impact for their teams during the 2017 season. The transition from club or elite gymnastics to college gymnastics is one of the biggest changes for these athletes as they begin their collegiate career.
In our new series, "Tips From The Pros," you'll get an inside look at how experienced gymnasts deal with struggles and other common situations in our sport. Check out how some of the top collegiate gymnasts navigated the transition between club and college gymnastics.
Kennedi Edney, LSU"I wouldn't say it was a challenge, but it was a learning experience. In club gymnastics, you do more numbers. You have to push through injuries that you may have. Here, you don't do a lot of numbers because you have to save your body because you compete every single weekend. When you do have an injury, they tell you 'okay, you need to stop.' They genuinely want you to be healthy and take care of your body."
Maddie Desch, Alabama"It's been a big transition but I've honestly enjoyed the whole process of it. I love the team atmosphere. When I compete, I always hear my teammates cheering for me and I think that's the best part about the transition. I love competing at Alabama, I love the coaches."
Just the way you're competing for something more than yourself when you're a part of a team like that. I think that just gives you even more purpose and makes it even more exciting to want to do well for not just yourself but your team.
Maddie Karr, DenverIt's definitely hard. It's a really big adjustment moving away from home, moving away from friends and family. But I think the best part is here at Denver, they made the transition so easy. They set us up with all the resources you could possibly imagine and it really is an easy transition."
Madison Copiak, Washington"It's definitely just a big transition in general your whole life, not specifically gymnastics. Your whole life changes, you have to learn to be independent and just figuring out your own rhythm in university [as opposed to] back home. It takes a bit for sure."
Mollie Korth, Kentucky"The transition has been interesting. All of the girls here have made it super easy. School is hard [but] I think everyone is doing a really good job of helping me as well."
Gymnastics-wise it's a lot different competing with a team now. Being able to really count on your team is something that I've had to adjust to.
Maggie Nichols, Oklahoma"It's a little bit different. It's not as serious as elite gymnastics is and you don't have to perform as hard of skills in college. The challenges are little bit different because you're really striving to get a 10 on each event, which is pretty hard to do. It's not as challenging, but it's challenging in its own way."
Missy Reinstadtler, Utah"It's been different in terms of making every turn count. You have limited turns in practice so just trying to be as perfect as you can every single turn. Not even meets, just every day in training. And then also it's been a different kind of pressure knowing that your team is relying on you. It's just not all about yourself. So there's a little bit of additional pressure because you don't want to let your team down."
But at the end of the day, you're still doing gymnastics. It wasn't too bad. It was definitely a fun transition.
Taylor Houchin, Nebraska"It's been very different. The hardest part would probably be the back-to-back weekends. That part's been tricky and hard on our body and stuff like that. It's been very rewarding at the same time and it's nice to have 14 other girls who are going through the same thing that I am and a coaching staff that has been doing this for a while and understands the difficulty that comes with it and the hardship and how this happens almost every time. [They] give us a little bit of slack with the transition period and not being too hard on us or making it any harder than it has to be."
Sabrina Vega, Georgia"I've loved it. It's been a transition for me because training is a lot different and the gymnastics itself is a lot different also. It's more of performing skills to perfection instead of throwing really huge skills like in elite. It's more execution based than difficulty based. So that was a huge thing for me to focus on preseason and now in season that's been my main focus from meet to meet just fixing the little details on all my skills."
But I've had a lot of fun transitioning from elite and now being a student-athlete. Being back in school and doing gymnastics has been a lot of fun.
Polina Shchennikova, Michigan"It's been a unique transition, honestly, completely different than what I could have ever expected it to be. But having the girls welcome us with open arms was really helpful and also having four incoming freshmen really helped make the transition a lot easier. We stuck together from the beginning."
Sam Ogden, Denver"It's definitely different. The transition has been pretty easy. All the coaches and the teammates, they really help you and push you to do your best. Just the transition into Denver has been pretty easy for me."
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