Each day, achievements in seasonal sports are honored on the announcements, whether that be first thing in the morning or on the daily video reports. While the names of football and soccer stars are often mentioned in regards to who scored the winning touchdown or assisted on a crucial goal, a certain sport has never been mentioned in any of the school’s announcements.
The school does honor many athletes and their sports teams, but gymnasts are left out of any sort of recognition given. With a considerable amount of practice almost every day, gymnasts work to develop time management skills that allow them to juggle practice with school work and extra curriculars, just like any other school-recognized athlete. This causes frustration within the minds of the school’s gymnastics athletes, who believe they deserve some amount of recognition.
“We just want to be recognized because we’re using our time that we could be doing homework and putting it into the gym,” junior and level nine gymnast Daniel Pickard-Carlisle said. “[We’d like] a little recognition that us gymnasts are here, we’re practicing and using our own personal time to better ourselves in the sport.”
Some of the gymnasts that attend the school made an effort to change the lack of appreciation by visiting with the athletic directors and explaining their perspective. However, the student-athletes were informed that the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) does not recognize gymnastics as a school sport, and therefore gymnasts do not qualify for the same awards, benefits or receive the amount of announcement that traditional school sports do.
“Since [the school] is not affiliated with Deveau’s in any way, we cannot receive letterman jackets,” Pickard-Carlisle said. “We can’t even get an announcement.”
Gymnasts consider this desire for recognition to be validated due to the amount of time and energy they spend at practice in order to improve. These athletes train considerably more than many average high school sports, practicing between 18 and 21 hours a week.
“I think gymnasts do [train] more than some high school athletes do,” senior and level nine gymnast Maggie Harycki said. “On Saturdays, we wake up and train for five hours. I think the school could honor us by spreading the word.”
Although these athletes are not recognized for their sport’s achievements at school, three students, sophomores Maxwell Griffey and Joshua Thompson, along with Pickard-Carlisle, who are gymnasts at Deveau’s won the state championship last year. They were registered under the school’s name but did not receive any recognition at school.
“The school should be able to announce our accomplishments,” Griffey said. “Especially for the state meet, when we won the high school team competition.”
Despite the fact that members of the gymnastics teams understand the IHSAA decision not to include gymnastics among school sports is above the school’s control, they compete in the school’s name and represent the student body at their meets. Recognition from the school and their fellow classmates would go a long way for these hard working athletes. With the amount of passion and work that is put into their goals, these student-athletes are eager to be honored for their accomplishments.
Story by Laura Stancato. Photo Contributed by Maggie Harycki.