July 18, 2012
A year ago, sophomores Kylie Schermann and Jenny Covers were just big-eyed freshmen on campus participating in summer workouts for the first time while fellow incomer Cierra Tomson trained at home in Jacksonville, Fla. eagerly awaiting to join the Golden Gopher squad. Now, the whole trio is here in Minneapolis, Minn. for the summer with a year of collegiate gymnastics under their belt and a different insight on what it takes to be a University of Minnesota women’s gymnast.
“I know that I need to pace myself a lot better this summer,” said Schermann. “The season is grueling enough, so during the summer I don’t attempt a skill 10 times or do every event every day. I take my time and keep telling myself that it is quality attempts not quantity that matters right now.”
“It is easier now that we know the system and how we need to mentally and physically prepare for each practice,” Covers added. “The season is stressful as it is, so it is nice to have a little break to focus on the finer details of our skills rather than trying to nail a whole routine.”
Despite the decrease in intensity, all three Gophers hope to take advantage of their time on campus this summer to fine tune skills and learn new routines. They all performed regularly in the Gopher lineup this past year, but each feels they can improve.
Covers was mainly in the bars and vault rotation, but the Prairie Grove, Ill. native looks to enter the realm of all around competitors.
“I have redone my whole beam routine,” said Covers. “I feel like a whole new person with changing everything, so that is my main focus going into the fall.”
Tomson, who competed in the all around last season, is looking to revamp an already exciting uneven bars routine as well as, focusing on the little things.
“Right now, I am working on a new bars routine, which includes a new dismount,” said Tomson. “Also, we are working on our details that we know make a difference, like hand stands on bars.”
Like the other two, Schermann is hoping to put a lot of focus into one specific event, the vault.
“I am working on fixing my vault,” Schermann stated. “Last season, we changed it around midseason, which was difficult to do, so now we are backtracking and trying to clean it up and make it more solid.”
Along with focusing on their own wellbeing, the newly turned second-year gymnasts are taking it upon themselves to help the four new freshmen get acquainted to not just collegiate gymnastics but college life as a whole.
“We have really taken them under our wing and kind of led by example,” Tomson said. “We have hung out with them a lot whether it is sitting around in our apartments or going to the beach. By doing these things, we have become a really close-nit team all around.”
With the freshmen getting a chance to settle into their dorms and get comfortable with a new team and staff, the Golden Gophers hope to get a jump start in the fall once official practices begin.
“I hope this fall we can start off right where we left off,” said Covers. “We lost some good routines from this past season, but we are gaining some great ones with these four incoming freshmen. Our team this coming year will have a lot of depth on all the events, so we hope to keep building towards a Big Ten Championship.”
Outside of the gym, the sophomore trio has embraced all that summer has to offer with venturing to the local beaches and soaking up the sun. Also, all three Gophers have new additions in their lives as Tomson and Covers each bought a fish this summer while Schermann has a new puppy.