Hello and welcome to my blog: The Student-Athlete Handbook! My name is Lauren Zemanek and in this segment I am going to talk a little bit about what I do and where I foresee this blog to go. I am an athlete on the Acrobatics and Tumbling team here at Gannon. Now, you may be asking yourself, “What is Acrobatics and Tumbling?” First of all, we are very different from your typical cheerleading or gymnastics team. I’m going to give a little bit of background of where I came from. Prior to my career at Gannon, I was a competitive gymnast for 11 years. I traveled as near as the Bayfront Convention Center right here in my hometown of Erie, PA and went as far as Orlando, Florida my senior year of high school. I made it up to level 8 out of a possible level 10. Level 10 is typically what you see at the collegiate level and beyond. Going into my junior year of high school, I knew that my career as a gymnast would soon come to an end. I absolutely loved the sport despite all of the blood, sweat, tears, and various injuries it caused over the years. I knew I wasn’t good enough to make a college team and pretty much accepted the fact that I’d become a NARP (non-athletic regular person) after high school. I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life after graduation. I had been an athlete my entire life and constantly on the move and couldn’t imagine life without gymnastics. I had former teammates graduate and go onto the collegiate level, but I also had a couple teammates go into the world of Acrobatics and Tumbling here at Gannon. I really wasn’t sure was the sport was at the time, all I knew I that it looked a lot like cheerleading and I wanted nothing to do with something like that. Going into my senior year, my gymnastics coach encouraged me to apply to Gannon and contact the head coach of the Acrobatics and Tumbling team just to get my name out there, even if I really wasn’t interested. So I took his advice and attended one of the recruiting events. It was nothing like I had expected! Although it incorporated lots of aspects from the gymnastics world, there was also a lot of circus-like activity going on. That same day I decided I wanted to be a part of the team, and here I am today!
So back to my question, Acrobatics and Tumbling is a combination of artistic and acrobatic gymnastics. We do a lot of stacking humans on top of each other, such as tosses and pyramids, and tumbling like you see in traditional artistic gymnastics. Acrobatics and Tumbling gives the opportunity for female gymnasts and/or cheerleaders to compete at the collegiate level who may not have had the opportunity to compete at the collegiate level for gymnastics or cheer. It is currently the newest emerging sport and made its initial debut back in 2011. It is currently not considered a NCAA sport due to the fact that there are only 25 schools in the country that offer it. We’ve competed against Baylor and Oregon in the past, both Division I schools. We compete on a traditional basketball court with 9 foam mats. There can be anywhere from 2 to 3 teams competing against each other at once. During the duration of the meet, there are 6 events: Compulsory, Acro, Pyramid, Toss, Tumbling, and the exciting team event. If you’d like to know more about what we do, please come to one of our meets! Our first home meet of the 2019 season is Sunday, February 24 at 1 pm. We had a very successful season last year, ranking 5th in the nation and winning a national title for one of our pyramids. This season is going to be the best one yet! Our meets are super exciting and we love the positive energy from the fans!
In this blog, I plan to talk a lot about my experiences as an athlete and give advice and tips to become a better athlete physically, mentally, and emotionally. I believe learning from other’s experiences is very important for self-growth and it has significantly helped me throughout my life. I am very excited to share my experiences with you and hope you will apply my experiences and advice to your life. Whether you are an athlete or not, I hope this blog will encourage you to live a positive lifestyle and enjoy the little things in life. Until next time!