SHOREWOOD -- The pressure to win, even for athletes at the high school level and below is great - sometimes too great! As FOX6's Tom Pipines discovered, the Shorewood Gymnastics Team is winning in ways that will last a lifetime.
The Shorewood Girls Gymnastics program doesn't hold tryouts. They welcome every young lady who has an interest in the sport. The Shorewood Gymnastics Team is still a growing program, so records and championships are still on the horizon, but don't think for a moment that the coach and the young women aren't special.
Sixth-year coach Sarah Paul, a former Greyhounds gymnast herself, commutes six hours from Detroit to coach the athletes who compete for her Alma Mater, all while balancing taking care of a two-year-old daughter and being pregnant! "This is my baby, my program, and I love the girls. I've always wanted to give back to the sport of gymnastics what has been given to me, so the fact that I can be that coach for these girls and hopefully give them what I've been given is just an honor in itself," Paul said.
Impressive, and so is the fact that the gymnasts have to raise their own money just to be able to practice. "We are not a school-sponsored sport, which means that we do not get direct funding from the school. Our coaching stipends are paid for, but every piece of equipment has been fundraised," Paul said.
But you won't find one student-athlete who will complain about it. The investment is worth every penny, and all the blood, sweat and tears. "It's my favorite part of high school, definitely. It has come so far. The facility that we have now is so much greater, and just having all of these friends," senior Erin Valusek said.
"It's like a little sorority. It's a place where all the females can get together, and have somebody to talk to and if you have that little sad day, you can look forward to coming here and just having a great time," senior Carissa Cortez said.
It doesn't take long to realize that the Shorewood Greyhounds are a special group of young ladies, none moreso than Caitlin Nadar, one of the most popular, inspirational people you'll meet anywhere. "I love Caitlin so much. She is my best friend. She is just such a good person to be around. You could be going through a really rough time or just having a bad day, and Kate doesn't even have to know about it, and she just brightens up your day. She doesn't even have to say anything. It is just her smile," senior Ty Lizana said. "She means so much to me, and she is so positive, and every day she comes in here and she is just so happy to be here all the time. I just love having her here, and she definitely inspires me to do my own work, because she has such a positive attitude " Valusek said. "Caitlin is the only one with special needs I've seen on a gymnastics team in the state of Wisconsin. As much as Caitlin has given us and we feel that she's learned from us, watching the other teams support our team, as well as Caitlin when she's competing, is a fantastic experience, and I think it's a fantastic experience for all schools," Paul said.