Horenziak flips through competition

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Deeya Prakash

GYMNASTICS. Sophomore Juliet Horenziak has been competing as a gymnast for over 10 years, and was recently named the Region 5 Junior National Champion on beam as well as all around. She hopes to pursue gymnastics in college just like her mother, hopefully at Stanford University. “It’s really nice to perform well, especially after all of the hours I spend and sacrifices I’ve made. It’s such a rewarding feeling,” Horenziak said. 

   Sophomore Juliet Horenziak can easily be seen as a typical teenager. 

   She spends plenty of time scrolling through Instagram, cramming for AP Economics, resenting morning wake-ups, and filling up her weekends to the point that they do not feel like weekends at all.

   But unlike most high schoolers, Horenziak devotes almost 20 hours a week to her passion: gymnastics.

   Having begun this sport when she was only 5 years old, she has been religiously devoted to the flips and swings for almost 10 years. However, this passion goes way back.

   Gymnastics is centered around levels, which are grouped by age and skillsets. The highest level is level 10, and gymnasts who surpass this become “elite,” the gymnastics equivalent of professional. 

   “Gymnastics in my family is almost genetic. My brother also does gymnastics, but my mom was a gymnast too, and she eventually went elite at Stanford. That’s kind of my dream, but I wouldn’t say I’m doing it all for her. I’m really inspired by my mom, but I’ve developed my own passion too, which is really cool,” Horenziak said.

   This dream may not be so far out of reach. This past season has been “the most rewarding” for this young athlete.

   Earlier this year, Horenziak competed at invitationals, state, regionals, and nationals. Not only did Horenziak win several first-place finishes, but she finished the season as the Junior National Champion in the beam category as well as all around.

   “Nationals was probably the highlight of my gymnastics career. It was unforgettable,” Horenziak said. 

   She along with one of her teammates traveled to Florida and competed with gymnasts from all over the nation. It was a three day meet, and Horenziak notes that it was not even the win that made the experience.

   “I got to go down with my teammates and their support means so much to me. I mean, you spend 20 hours a week with these people, so you get really close, and competing with them is the best. I had also been injured the previous season, so to even qualify was awesome. And winning was just an added bonus.”

   Despite her success, Horenziak has not always had these kinds of results. When she was a younger athlete, she stated that she was often put down by coaches and teammates, and never really stood out. As the years passed, however, she has soared past the competition and owes it all to her strong mentality.

   “For any aspiring gymnasts, I would tell them to always believe in themselves, and never stop chasing dreams. I had to keep telling myself that, especially when I was going through a rough patch of time, whether I was injured or just demotivated by the people around me. Just make sure to stay strong, you’ll get there,” Horenziak said.

   And this gymnast is living proof that this advice works.