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New gymnastics club vaults into competition

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Marketing junior Nathalie Rojas competed in a meet held at UCLA last year.

Marketing junior Nathalie Rojas competed in a meet held at UCLA last year.

Courtesy of Nathalie Rojas

Courtesy of Nathalie Rojas

Marketing junior Nathalie Rojas competed in a meet held at UCLA last year.

by Kelly Kerrigan, Staff Writer

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San Diego State offers sporting clubs ranging from cycling, skiing, snowboarding and surfing. However until last fall, SDSU was missing one of the most well known sports that gains more popularity with each Olympic games—gymnastics.

At the start of the 2016 school year, marketing junior Nathalia Rojas and kinesiology senior Stephanie McCullough decided to create a gymnastics club for anyone on campus interested in competing in the sport.

The club travels around California and competes at other campuses like the University of California Los Angeles and the University of California San Diego.

“Stephanie and I represented SDSU at UCLA last year and it was amazing being able to compete,” Rojas said.

The club practices at Champion Gymnastics in Santee and competes during both the fall and spring semesters.

The team trains once a week for nearly three hours each practice. They have grown from just five members last year to eight members now and are always looking for more people to join.

Kinesiology sophomore Meghan O’Connell has competed on the U.S. girls gymnastics team.

“When I came to state I was shocked to find there was no gymnastics team due to the D1 status of all of our sports teams,” O’Connell said.

Rojas said she hopes to have the team expand their number of competitions and wants the team to be an officially recognized SDSU club.

“Gymnastics itself is so different from every other sport, so I think that really sets us a part from other clubs,” McCullough said.

This new addition to the athletic community of SDSU is a new beginning for gymnasts that allows them practice their skills in a collegiate environment.

McCullough said many girls come to SDSU who were gymnasts in high school, but they decided to quit the sport because of its potential dangers. Unlike sports like soccer or swimming that can be practiced in supervised facilities, gymnastics requires a certain level of safety.

McCullough said safety is taken very seriously at the SDSU Gymnastics Club practices and in their gym.

“The best part (of gymnastics club) has to be competing with a great group of girls,” McCullough said. “We support each other 100 percent of the time and getting to show off the skills we have been training is so rewarding.”

Rojas said the best part of being in the club is representing SDSU while being back in the gym again at a collegiate level.

“I would have never met these girls without the club, so I’m so thankful it brought us all together,” McCullough said.

Students interested in practicing with the SDSU Gymnastics Club can join by emailing McCullough at aztecsgym@yahoo.com.

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