Junior Lucy Ennis, a Roseville, Minn., native, talks about her gymnastics, her hobbies, and why she loves being a role model.
Have you added any difficulty to your routines this year?
“I have added a skill in my acro-series on beam. It’s now a three part series. I added a shushunova at the end of my last pass on floor, which is a straddle jump to your stomach. It was going really well. Adding the extra skill actually makes you think less about the difficulty of the pass so it actually makes it kind of easier for some reason. On balance beam, I have actually been working on the acro-series for a while. I wanted to compete with it last year but it was too inconsistent so I worked on that over the summer and have kind of had it in my back pocket for a while.”
What is your favorite event?
“I like to say it depends on the day. It’s really hard for me to pick just one. There are different criteria for each. I love training on beam and I am getting to the point where I really enjoy competing in it. It is less nerve-wracking. Overall I would probably have to say there is nothing like doing a really great bar routine. But, honestly I could say that about any event.”
What was one of the toughest things to adjust to in college gymnastics?
“Mental training was a new thing when I first came to college and I am still not good at it. It has taken me a while to completely buy-in and see the results and to see how it actually does pay off. That was a big thing for me to be able to return not only physically but mentally as well and to know that it is still there and I can replicate it.”
What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses?
“I am pretty powerful. I have always been that way. That is why vault is really easy and fun for me. I love tumbling. I can swing pretty dynamically on bars. The downside is my technique. I have always been able to get through stuff with simple muscle memory so my technique has not always been my high point. But Jim, Meg, and Jenny have been really good about teaching me how to be aware of that and how to work with the technique.”
What is it like to perform in front of a hometown crowd?
“It is really neat and really fun. I honestly think that college gymnastics, especially the U of M, is the best-kept secret in the Twin Cities. People do not realize that this level of gymnastics is right in their backyard. It is really fun to perform and do well in front of a crowd and to do it for all the little girls who are there to watch you. It is fun to be a role model on and off the floor. I love it.”
What is like traveling so much every other weekend?
“It has been an adjustment this year and for some reason harder than others. I do not mind traveling but I am kind of sensitive to motion sickness so with homework I never get as much done as I want to. It is exhausting especially when we have to bus and fly for the same meet. But you recover in time to do it again in two weeks. It is just the way it goes. I love traveling because I love performing in different arenas and seeing different schools. Each weekend is a new challenge in terms of dealing with the travel situation, the ups and downs of eating and sleeping on the weekends, and of course the meet itself. It is a little bit exhausting but it is part of the thrill.”
What activities besides gymnastics do you enjoy doing in your free time?
“It depends on the season. I will always go for anything outdoors. I love being outdoors. I love camping in the summer, biking, hiking, swimming and other things like that. I always love a good book too. I do not really get much time for that during the season to do that. And I like just being with friends and family. I have a pretty big family so it is always fun to be with them.”
Unlike a lot of your teammates, you are the first gymnast in your family, so how did you get started in the sport?
“I was always the one climbing up the slides and on top of the monkey bars instead of swinging on them, and doing other crazy things like that. My mom just put me in park and rec classes. At first it did not take. I was not thrilled with it. I would have rather been outside on my swing set. I quit for a while and then I went back when I was about seven, which is relatively late for gymnastics. It just went from there. Coaches kept telling me to move up and we didn’t really know what we were doing so we just kind of went with it.”
Article compiled by Kate Wadman