Tumbling to success

Dominic Lount, Sports Editor

In many different sports, there are opportunities to advance into the next level. Many of these opportunities can be attained through high school sports, but some sports do not go through the school. In senior Austin Kosanke’s case, gymnastics isn’t offered at Utica, but he has still continued with it through a long span of time.

“This year is my twelfth year doing gymnastics,” Kosanke said. “I started when I was five years old.”

Throughout Austin’s career as a gymnast, he has certainly racked up the hardware. He has totaled hundreds of medals over all twelve years, some individual awards as well as some for his team. Practices can be greuling, but in the end they can pay off in dividends.

“I practice five times every week, and sixteen hours total,” Kosanke said. “and I have won many trophies for myself and also including team awards.”

As previously mentioned, these practices and competitions are extremely time-consuming, so Kosanke must put extra time into activities outside of school in order to keep up with the demanding schedule of gymnastics as well as the demanding schedule and events of life.

“The three hardest things about having practice the whole week,” Kosanke said, “are being able to balance homework, being very tired after constant workouts, and not having a lot of time to hang out with friends.”

As in any sport, workouts and training are essential, but eating healthy is another major part of an athletes lifestyle as well. This is no different in gymnastics, as eating and drinking well can help enhance performance, and gymnastics requires lots of physical and mental toughness.

“I don’t have a specific diet,” Kosanke said, “but I try to limit pop.”

Most school and travel leagues go a few months, maybe even half a year. But that is not the case for gymnastics. Kosanke’s gymnastics team goes the whole year, with only a few breaks inserted here and there. This may create fatigue and is definitely a lot of time and commitment, but all of these practices and all of the repetitions will pay off in dividends when it comes to competition time, with strength building up from every practice.

“It’s a year round sport so we get one full week off in the year on the week of July 4th,” Kosanke said. “however the competition season goes from November-ish until May.”

Although senior year is almost complete, Kosanke does not plan on stopping his gymnastics career just yet. He plans to continue his career at the collegiate level.

“I plan to continue with club gymnastics at Grand Valley University.” Kosanke said.

The amount of commitment and perseverance it takes to balance school, sports and life has many other people in awe of what Kosanke does, as well as the success that he has in the sport of gymnastics.

“Any time somebody can do a year-round sport and do well in school,” senior Jack Shepherd said, “that’s very impressive.”

Many of Kosanke’s friends are also in awe at all of his gymnastics feats and accomplishments, including senior Jade Gomez.

“Well, I think it’s really cool,” Gomez said. “It’s fun to be able to see all the skills he’s developed over the years I’ve known him.”

Many student-athletes are in the same boat as Kosanke. They have year-round sports, in which there are practices many days of the week as well as competitions, and where they also have to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the season. It may seem challenging, but Kosanke has proven that it can definitely be done.

“The one thing you need to have is determination,” Kosanke said. “The moment you start to feel unmotivated it gets one hundred times harder, so just push through it.”