Baylor Gymnastics Club hopes to continue success for upcoming nationals

The Baylor Gymnastics Club team hopes to continue their success in their next national competition. Photo courtesy of Ali Harvey

By Kassidy Tsikitas | Staff Writer

The Baylor Gymnastics Club will be competing from Wednesday to Sunday in Memphis, Tenn., in this year’s national competition.

During its 2021-22 season, the Gymnastics Club placed first at the Texas Gymnastics Conference, allowing it to move on to nationals for the first time. The team was then also ranked No. 2 in the nation.

In its current season, the group attended the Texas Gymnastics Conference at Texas A&M University on March 25 where it earned another first place honor.

Pottstown, Penn., senior and club president Ali Harvey said she’s excited to compete at her second nationals after being on the team for three years.

Harvey said the Gymnastics Club practices year round, but started its competition season on Feb. 4 where the squad finished in first place.

Harvey also said the club team allows people with no experience to join. She said it helps the members support each other in order to promote personal growth.

“The gymnastics world can be crazy,” Harvey said. “We all try to help when we can and mini coach.”

The team practices at the Texas Dynasty Cheer and Gymnastics three times a week from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Although the members don’t have to attend all three sessions, they must go at least once a week. Harvey said everyone gets into the routine of how the practices flow.

“We start off getting warmed up, that’s really important in gymnastics,” Harvey said. “Then we separate into the events we’re probably going to compete in. It’s very organic and free-flowing.”

Brookings, S.D., sophomore Isabella Portz said gymnastics is a sport that takes time and practice.

“You can’t just wake up and already know how to do it,” Portz said. “It takes a lot of time and dedication.”

When a competition is coming up, members make sure to put in extra hours in order to clean up a routine or speficic part of the meet.

“Before an event, we try to show off our routines and have two certified judges come in for a mock competition,” Portz said. “It helps us see what we have to improve on.”

Even though all of the members come from different backgrounds, and thus different forms of coaching or training, Portz said the team works together almost like a family.

The club is able to have members with little to no experience, but the competition team competes under the Junior Olympic levels. It encourages everyone to go out and join the non-competing practices for the team.

Arlington sophomore Lacey Lawyer said she’s new to competitive gymnastics and only competes on the floor event, but has plans to add another event very soon.

“The community is not super strict, but we all kind of motivate each other,” Lawyer said.

Baylor Gymnastics creates an environment that isn’t judgmental, but free-spirited, according to Reno sophomore, Jenna Parker.

“We are also welcoming, a lot of people aren’t looking at the skills you have or your level of advancement,” Parker said. “We just say, ‘Oh let me help you with that.’ I really appreciate that.”

Harvey and Lawyer said the gymnastics world can be toxic and can change the way someone can view themselves and others. They said the Baylor Gymnastics members take a step back and help one another out.

The club must raise $5,000 to attend the national event. It has some fundraising ideas in the works, but right now, it has a donation link and t-shirt sales mentioned on social media.