At just 14 years old, Saige Sheehan already is defining perseverance through her gymnastics career.
In her sixth year of competitive gymnastics, the Gillette teen placed second in the Level 7 Senior A division of the Wyoming State Gymnastics meet that was held at the Field House at the Campbell County Recreation Center last month. But it was far from an easy road for the Twin Spruce Junior High eighth grader.
Her performance at the meet started with an error that caused a fall during her first run, she said.
“I started on the beam and I had fallen, so I was really worried,” Sheehan said. “I started thinking that I wouldn’t be able to make it because I had fallen, but then I did good on the rest of my events.”
Her next run came on the vault where the judges were harder than usual, Sheehan said.
“I didn’t get the score I normally should, so I thought that was another downfall,” Sheehan said. “But I’ve been working super hard on bars to get a good score with handstands and giants.
“When I got to bars it was just my final event that I had to push through and do my best at to make it, and I did.”
Overall, Sheehan ended with a score of 36.075 to take second place in her division. She was second in the vault with a score of 8.7, bars with a 9.35, balance beam with a 8.675 and floor exercise with a 9.35.
Another obstacle was a disappointing end to last year’s season when Sheehan was hurt before the state competition. The injury gave Sheehan a lot of motivation to get over the hump and qualify for regionals this year, she said.
“Last year I had gotten hurt, so there was no chance of me getting an opportunity to make it to regionals, which was my goal last year,” Sheehan said. “So this year I came in harder than I did last year so I could make it.”
Persevering through adversity and adjusting to whatever life throws at her both on and off the mat is something that’s important to any athlete, Sheehan said. It’s especially important to her because some of the area’s younger gymnasts look up to her as a leader in the gym.
“Other people look up to you, so when they see you having a meltdown or they see you giving up, they think that that can be OK to them,” Sheehan said. “It’s important to just show other girls to push through when things get rough and to push through for yourself and for who you love.”
Sheehan is unsure if this is her last season as a gymnast. After gymnastics was cut as a sanctioned high school sport in the state of Wyoming in 2010, Sheehan’s future in the sport is unclear.
She isn’t worrying about that now as her focus shifts to the regional meet April 29 through May 2 in Aurora, Colorado.
“My goal is to place on bars because I’ve been working super hard on that just to get it all perfected,” Sheehan said. “I just want to have an overall good meet and to just have fun and enjoy the time that I get to be there.”