SSN Athlete Feature: Sarah Haxton

Unrecognized State Champion


Heart racing, knowing she’d given everything she had, senior Sarah Haxton awaited the results.  The third-place award winner was announced, a long grueling break occurred.  Next, the second-place winner.  Still uncalled, Haxton’s nerves turned to extreme joy.  She knew her bar routine was solid, so when her name was called as the 2019 state bar champion, she knew all her work had paid off. Sweat, tears, and most importantly time are major factors that set gymnastics apart from almost any other sport.


Here at Hamilton Southeastern we generally focus on school sponsored athletes, however, some of the greatest athletes in the building go unnoticed.  Sarah Haxton is going to be a division one athlete as she recently committed to Kent State University for gymnastics.


“I do wish I had more recognition for doing gymnastics because gymnastics is a lot different than the sports provided at the school,” Haxton states, “…a lot of people just don’t realize the time and effort that goes into gymnastics.”


Due to the lack of school recognition, gymnasts must use each other for motivation.


“Sarah has helped me become a better gymnast in the sense that she’s always there for me, she lets me talk to her about any of my problems inside of school, in the gym, or just in general,” senior and teammate Sarah Girot said.  “We kind of support each other in that sense, so with that we can become better gymnasts by just motivating each other through just a teammate type bond”


This motivation is not limited to the gym at all.  Although not technically a high school athlete, Haxton has just as much stress as any other student athletes.  In fact, her school vs. sport workload is even higher than most student athletes here at Hamilton Southeastern.


“…I have practice for about four hours a day,” Haxton said. “(due to four-hour practices) I start my homework late at night and in order to get a halfway decent night of sleep at night.  (gymnastics) Has taught me how to manage my time better and be able to get my homework done in a short amount of time.”


This large amount of time does not go without proper reward.  Haxton has won and qualified for numerous high-level tournaments.  Some of her most impressive achievements, in addition to her 2019 bar state championship, include: regional qualifier all for years at level 10, Eastern National qualifier, and a JO National Alternate qualifier.


All of these achievements are largely recognizable and prestigious in the gymnastics world. However, their recognition within high school’s nationwide is a whole other story.  Due to gymnastics not being considered a high school sport, accomplishments such as Haxton’s are not recognized by the school.


“Gymnastics has affected my personality as it has definitely made me a more determined person and just mentally strong,” Haxton says, “It has taught me a lot of how to deal with different situations and be strong and determined to achieve my goals…”