The process of getting recruited to compete on a collegiate gymnastics team isn’t the easiest, but the result is well worth it! 1,418 women competed in NCAA gymnastics in 2015, covering 82 institutions.
Across the United States (and even abroad), coaches prepare interested high school gymnasts for the NCAA recruiting process. It is crucial for you to keep your grades up in high school to make a better impression on the university itself. NCAA athletes are eligible to obtain thousands of dollars worth of scholarships, so the higher your grades are, the better.
One high school gymnast that has recently been through this recruiting process is Emerson Hurst. Emerson is a level 10 gymnast training at Starlight Gymnastics in Jacksonville, Florida. She began gymnastics at the age of four, and her love for the sport has continued, as shown through her 27.5-hours-a-week training in gymnastics and ballet classes! Although she is only a junior in high school, she has already obtained a full ride to Towson University to be on their gymnastics team.
The steps Emerson had to take during recruitment:
When Emerson first began her recruitment process, she emailed videos in attempts of getting interest from anyone. She narrowed down her list to her top schools and would call them during the week, email them videos, and keep them updated with her website. She kept a spreadsheet with the coaches’ names and numbers to check off when she sent them meet results to avoid double emailing. When September rolled around, coaches started to email her back, which made it a lot easier for her to narrow her list further. A couple of coaches came to watch Emerson practice, which led to her final choice: Towson.
Who helped Emerson the most during her recruiting process:
There are a ton of rules in gymnastics. Emerson could text or email college coaches, but the coaches were not allowed to answer until September 1st of her junior year. Emerson’s club coaches were her biggest source of help when trying to communicate between colleges. They filmed video footage of her when she perfected more difficult skills, in hopes of further impressing the collegiate coaches. Emerson’s mom, Diane, also had a big in role in helping Emerson write emails, make phone calls, and drive her to camps for training.
What Emerson is most looking forward to about joining the Towson Gymnastics team:
Although Emerson is on a level 10 club team currently, it mainly focuses on individual scores. She is most excited about gymnastics becoming more of a team sport with all of the girls working together to accomplish the same goal. She is also thrilled to work with the head coach, Vicki Chliszczyk May. She is very supportive and encouraging, which will be helpful when Emerson is adjusting to the new environment.
Emerson says the recruiting process is long, but so rewarding. She encourages high school gymnasts to stick to their passion because their hard work will eventually pay off!