The Ohio University Club Gymnastics Team has set a high bar for teamwork and friendship.
The team consists of 11 members and is run entirely by OU students who facilitate the business and organizational side of the team as well as being active members.
Each club member specializes in specific gymnastic events, which they perform at their competitions. There are four total events: floor, beam, uneven bars and vault.
Each year, the team participates in three competitions, one of which is Nationals. Last week, the girls competed at Ohio State University, and this weekend, they will be competing at Bowling Green State University. This year, Nationals will be held in April, where the gymnasts will get to travel to Providence, Rhode Island for the competition.
At the beginning of the fall semester, the club holds tryouts, where anyone interested can demonstrate their skills to potentially be added to the team. Madeline Vouis, a freshman studying integrated language arts, explained that the most important factor in being chosen for the team is not experience, but rather tenacity.
“We have girls with dance background, cheerleading background and gymnastics background, but there’s no specific level you have to be at,” Vouis said. “They just want to see promise in you or your attempts of skills or your work ethic that you’re going to put in for the rest of the year.”
Each week, the team meets on Tuesdays for two-hour practice sessions at Global Gymnastics Center, a local gymnasium. Courtney Ramey, a freshman studying exercise physiology, described the practice as a learning environment, where the members can each assess each other’s routines and assist in their improvement.
“There are older girls on the team that help us get our routines together, but it’s cool too because you’re also able to make up a routine yourself,” Ramey said. “At practices, we each go through our routines and critique one another to refine them.”
At their competitions, the girls each perform their specific events. Vouis said that the competitions were significant in that they allow the team to demonstrate the effort they have put into the sport, which they can then utilize to ponder on possible improvements for future competitions.
“We start a warm-up for one event, then whoever is participating in that event, will compete. Then we shuffle to the next event in alphabetical order,” Vouis said. “At the end of the meet, we gather and talk about how we did and we each reflect on our performances.”
Gabi Bosley, a senior studying healthcare administration, is the president of the club gymnastics team. Bosley, who has been doing gymnastics since she was five, expressed that the continuation of the sport throughout her college career has contributed to the productivity and stability in her life.
“Gymnastics has given me a lot of structure because it’s been a part of my whole life so I feel like it’s forever a piece of me,” Bosley said. “I think it’s really fun and something to continuously excel at.”
Ramey believes that the sport is unique in its ability to demonstrate the individual personality of the gymnasts within their performances.
“I think the sport allows for a lot of personal expression,” Ramey said. “You get to show judges your own character and your sassiness and confidence. It’s a little bit of showing yourself off, but in a really good way, and showing them how hard you’ve worked.”
For Bosley, the most important aspect of the team has been the tight-knit nature of the group, as she has found solace in the friendships she has formed.
“It means a lot to have this team at OU because my teammates are my closest friends,” Bosley said. “I’m from out of state, so I feel like if I hadn’t joined the club my sophomore year, I would be a little more lonely. These are my closest relationships at college and I’m so grateful for them.”
While the hard work and thrill of the competition can be rewarding, Ramey assured that the friendships she has gained through joining the team will make a lasting impact on each of those involved.
“It’s really special to me because I’ve met some of my best friends through being a part of the team,” Ramey said. “We’re a really close team and we’ve bonded so well and we hang out outside of this all the time too, so this is a lot more than gymnastics for us.”