Shenewerk loves the sport of gymnastics
We all remember the moment Kerri Strugg sprinting down the stretch of the spring board. She soared through the air with great speed. The question everyone wanted to know was, could she stick her landing? She stuck it all right, but was brought down fast.
Gymnastics is a dangerous and courageous sport. Can you imagine doing flips, twists and turns on something so incredibly small. Any wrong step and you're done. Baldwin High School sophomore Audrey Schenewerk does all of these things.
Schenewerk has participated in gymnastics for many years.
"I have been competing for five years. But before that I did gymnastics classes which I started at about age 3 or 4," she said.
Sharon Schenewerk, Audrey's mother, also participated in gymnastics,
"I participated in high school. I enjoyed it, it was lots of fun. I was also on my junior high's tumbling team. They didn't have gymnastics at that level," she explained.
But Sharon does not push her daughter into doing things because she did it at her age. When asked if she encouraged her daughter to participate in gymnastics she replied, "I gave her the opportunity. And she discovered that she enjoyed it. But Audrey tried other sports."
Audrey does in fact enjoy the sport.
"We get awesome muscles! Flipping and twisting is so much fun! And it's challenging. Plus a lot of people don't do this sport and everyone thinks it is amazing what we can do," she said.
How do you think one might become interested in a sport that doesn't get much recognition?
"My mom just signed me up, because she had been interested in gymnastics and thought that maybe I would be too," she said.
There are four different routines to participate in which include, floor, vault, beam and bars. Audrey's favorite is beam.
"Beam, because it is my best, and plus everyone thinks that what you do on the beam is extremely dangerous," she said.
So maybe danger is one factor that both draws in more gymnasts and also shies them away from the sport. The fact that gymnastics is not offered at BHS has often made Audrey wonder if she should change schools so she could be on a high school gymnastics team.
"Yes, I have thought about changing schools a lot actually! But now that I am in high school and already have all my friends, it just wouldn't be fun. And plus I am at a higher lever than most gymnasts around here, so I probably wouldn't improve a lot," she said.
Some kids have a hard time juggling school, work, sports, family and friends. Audrey is one of these people.
"It is extremely hard to balance school and gymnastics! With four hours of practice every school night, I have to be at the gym at four. And I usually don't get home until 8:30 or later. And then I still have to do homework. And a lot of times I don't get to go to parties or games because I am at the gym, or I have a gymnastics meet," she said.
Sometimes she wonders if it is all worth it but all good things come with sweet rewards.
"When I was in seventh grade my team won state champions. It was so much fun! Over the years I have won individual events also," she said.
Sharon thinks that gymnastics is good for Audrey's character as well as being in good shape year round.
"Gymnastics instills good values in my daughter, such as discipline, teamwork, perseverance, time management, self-motivation, etc. .., ability to accept criticism and not winning all the time," she said.
Audrey figures since she has to come this far in gymnastics why not continue?
"I hope to do college gymnastics," she said. "But even if I don't compete at the college level, I hope to coach gymnastics."
Audrey has come a long way in her gymnastics career she is in level 8 out of 11. This year her team, Kansas School of Gymnastics, will compete in Chicago; Dallas; Bartlesville, Okla.; St. Joseph, Mo.; Kansas City; Topeka; Wichita and many more places. So Kerri Strugg better watch her back!