Aggie gymnastics' seniors culminate long journey with WAC championships

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, March 22 2012 1:00 p.m. MDT

Throughout Hogan’s time at Utah State, she has been fighting nagging injuries that have slowly degenerated her ability to compete. As a freshman she was competing as an all-arounder, but each season has eliminated an event, leaving her solely as a beam competitor this year.

“Each year, we were taking events out, trying to help her last and get through her senior year without killing her,” Richards said. “Slowly but surely, she’s been a steady kid. She’s hung in there.”

Hogan said her time competing, including the trials that have come with it, have taught her to keep pushing through and never give up.

“When things aren’t going so well and you’re dealing with injuries, it’s hard, but you just have to keep going,” she said.

Holliday said the entire experience was harder than she expected it would be, but entirely worth it.

“I’m so glad I did it all because I learned so much and I feel like I’m a way stronger person from it,” she said. “There was stuff that I had to do that I didn’t think I ever could. It was life changing.”

Richards said the two seniors are assets to the program and have made his time as coach that much more enjoyable.

“It’s been fun to see them progress and grow and come through the program,” Richards said. “I’ll definitely miss them next year.”

Improving as a team

As the team has gone through the season, the general consensus is to see success. Even if it doesn’t show in the win and loss columns, everyone has learned a lot and felt significantly better about the overall atmosphere of the team.

“I just feel like all of us have done so much better this year. Everyone is so positive, and it’s been so much better than other years,” Hogan said. “It feels like we’re putting things together now.”

On an individual level, Hogan said she worked to focus on the little things this year, rather than shooting for the complicated routines.

“I have done a lot better form-wise this year. I used to go for the hard stuff, but this year I just backed off and worked on getting the little things really well,” she said. “I just wanted to get the higher scores with the little things, and I feel like I’ve done that.”

Holliday said the biggest impact on this season has been the chemistry between members of the team. She said that because of that, she sees this as the best season in the time she has been an Aggie.

“With the chemistry of the team, how we’ve done overall and how I’ve done personally, it’s been the best season so far,” Holliday said. “It’s a young team, but for me to be able to say to them that they’ve contributed to it being the best of my four years is hopefully motivating for them. I know it definitely motivates me.”

Holliday also said she sees this year as a success individually because she finally accomplished her goal of becoming an all-around competitor. As a freshman, she had a few meets at all-around, but then started dealing with injuries.

“This year, I’ve done it and I’m proud of that. I was hurt and dealing with some lingering injuries at the beginning of the year, but I pushed through and am happy with what I’ve done,” Holliday said.

As Hogan and Holliday have gone through their gymnastics careers, the attitude toward Aggie gymnastics has become more positive.

“In past years, people have been like ‘Oh, you’re a gymnast?’ but the attitude has totally changed now and it’s more like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re on the gymnastics team?’ It’s cool,” Hogan said. “We’ve changed ourselves, too. We’re more positive.”

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