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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Individual competitors find team support

Rodney Haas / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Rodney Haas
Rodney Haas / Arizona Daily Wildcat

No matter the situation, there is no loss of camaraderie for the Arizona gymnastics team.

That camaraderie and support can be found throughout the entire gymnastics program — from the coaching staff, to the gymnasts, to the managers and event trainer.

“”It’s something that has been developed over years,”” said head coach Bill Ryden. “”They know it’s part of our team structure, that’s the reason why a lot of them come here. It’s a trademark of our team. It isn’t something that was just learned this year; it’s just something inherent in the program itself.””

And although they perform alone, they’re never truly alone.

“”It makes me want to do better,”” said freshman Mykle Douglas,””knowing that they are there for you the whole time, cheering you on, making you want to do better and just go as hard as you can. Basically just giving it your all.””

Having support, senior Sarah Tomczyk said, helps her focus.

“”I would say it’s more discouraging if nobody is cheering for me,”” Tomczyk said. “”If no one is saying anything, you’re like, ‘Come on help me out.’ I like it when people are into it.””

In their last home meet against UCLA, the Gymcats were still encouraging each other throughout every routine even though they were struggling.

The team rallied around sophomore Talyn Curry, who was going through her beam routine. The first person over to congratulate her was assistant coach Colleen Johnson.

“”They know as a team that they need each and every one of them to be there. They are constantly rooting for each other and helping each other, but also pushing each other,”” Johnson said.

The team gives that same kind of encouragement to each other during practice. Even though they are scattered around the practice facility, the team always seems to know when a teammate is getting ready to go through her routine.

That’s when you start to hear them scream, “”Come on,”” “”Yeah,”” and “”Let’s go.””

The support the Gymcats give each other is very helpful for the freshmen who have been thrown into competition early due to injuries on the team.

Ryden explained that at this part of the season they focus more on the mental aspect of performing, because at this point in a club program the season would be over. The freshmen who have not experienced a full year of collegiate athletics are still trying to get over that wall.

“”Our team is very, very close, and sometimes that cheering and support can get you by those rough patches because you know you have someone that supports you and understands what you are going through,”” Ryden said.

The Gymcats are also a very tight-knit group outside of the gym, spending the majority of their free time with their teammates.

“”We are very close. We hang out all the time,”” Tomczyk said. “”We get along incredibly when we are on the road constantly laughing, always having a good time.””

According to Tomczyk the team does normal college stuff together, which includes going to dinner, movies and shopping.

“”We are basically together all the time,”” Douglas said. “”I live in the dorms. All the freshmen are always together, it’s just like another family. It’s just nice to have them always by your side.””

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