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Lawrence tumbles over challenges

MON. | 04-11-22 | SPORTS

     Rose junior Kaila Lawrence has been doing gymnastics since she was four years old, and spends each afternoon in the gym from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. After 12 years of work, she has accomplished many feats, such as reaching the highest level 10 circuit and appearing at a national event in Florida. However, this journey did not come without challenges.

     One of the scariest obstacles in gymnastics is injury. With all of the sports dangerous flips and tricks, gymnasts have to be mentally and physically prepared for a slow and bumpy recovery.

Lawrence has gone through many injuries, the worst of which being a stress fracture in her back in the fifth grade.

     “I had to have MRIs, and lots of physical therapy and conditioning,” Lawrence said. “It was hard at first, but my parents and my teammates really helped me get through it.”

She has also had to deal with a broken foot and sprained ankles. After each of these injuries, she would go through a long process of physical


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therapy and slowly get back into the sport she loves.  

Most of these injuries come from the difficult and dangerous skills gymnasts must learn to compete at the highest level.

     “[The most difficult skill I have learned] is called a Maloney,” Lawrence said. “You go from the low bar to the high bar. You are standing in between the bars, and you swing, and launch yourself back to catch the high bar.”

     To be able to master such skills, Lawrence goes straight to four hours of training at Roses Gymnastics right after school. Roses is an Olympic style gymnastic training center for all ages to learn anywhere from the foundations of gymnastics, all the way to level 10 of USA Gymnastics. This level can only be reached by qualifying for the U.S. National Championship, where big names like Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles have also appeared.

     “It makes it really difficult sometimes, because I take a lot of AP classes and I have a class at Pitt,” Lawrence said. “I try and get most of [my work] done during Refresh, and when I go home, I try and get enough done without having to stay up late.” 

     Lawrence also stays on top of her sleep schedule so she has enough energy to get up and get through a school day and a four-hour practice.

     Lawrence says that not only is the schedule tough, but so are the practices.

     “We do vault on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Tuesdays and Thursdays we do floor, and Friday is a little bit of everything, but vault and floor are watered down,” Lawrence said. “The reason we do not do all four events is to help conserve our bodies.”

     Despite these obstacles, Lawrence has been able to find the best in these challenges. 

     “It has made me stronger and showed that I can persevere through anything,” Lawrence said.

     Lawrence hopes to continue honing her gymnastic talents and bring her skill along with her to college, where she also plans to receive an education in medicine.

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