by Dani Averitt

Daisy Woodring, a senior at Mingo Valley Christian, will attend Texas Woman’s University next year on a gymnastics and academic scholarship. She has worked diligently to reach this achievement. Daisy is one of the top students in her class, as well as a devoted gymnast, committing herself to her lifelong dream of competing in gymnastics while at college. We interviewed Daisy to get to know her and her kind spirit, as well as all about her gymnastics journey in the midst of school.

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How long have you done gymnastics, and what level are you in right now?

When I was young, I did regular gymnastics classes. I started competing in 2007 when I was 7, so I’ve been doing gymnastics for about 12 years. I’m in level 10 right now. After level 10, there’s Jr. Elite and Sr. Elite, which is Olympic level. 

When did you know you wanted to do gymnastics in college?

Probably about 1st grade; I wanted to go to OSU but sadly they didn’t have a gymnastics team. When I found out about college gymnastics, I knew I didn’t want to go to the Olympics, but I knew I could do college. In about 4th or 5th grade, it became apparent it was the obvious choice. “I love the sport so much, why wouldn’t I do this?” was basically my mindset and thought process.  

You make exceptional grades while simultaneously staying committed to gymnastics - how have you made this possible for yourself? What sort of discipline does it take?

I’ve been doing it for such a long time that it seems almost natural to me! I learned early on that you have to manage your time well. My parents taught me that if something’s worth doing, you have to put full effort into it, like 110%. Having this mindset of “whatever you do, work heartily for the Lord” has made me put my full effort into both school and gymnastics. I learned you have to make a lot of sacrifices and decide what things are going to be worth it and what things you can do without.

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Where are you going for college? What are you planning on majoring in?

I’m going to Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX. It’s a smaller school, so gymnastics is like the football of the school. Gymnasts get treated pretty nice there! TWU is a Division 2 college, so they can give a half-athletic scholarship and then I’m going to be in the Honors Program, which takes away almost the rest of tuition.

For now, I’ve been writing down that I’m majoring in “Chemistry with an emphasis on Nutrition” but I’ve never done anything with nutrition so we’ll see what happens!

How often do you practice? Do you know what your schedule in college will look like?

Right now, I practice 5-6 days a week. I normally practice before school on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well. In college, meet season is from January to April so that will be the busy season. Because of NCAA rules, we can only practice 20 hours each week, so I’ll be practicing about the same as I do now.

College gymnastics is more of a team sport and there’s a really strong community within the team, so I’m really excited to be able to contribute to the team and be a part of that energy. Still being able to give 110% into college school work and gymnastics, as well as living a life and spending time with Christ, is probably what I’m most nervous for. I have to learn how to balance it all on my own with no one right beside me guiding the way.  

How has gymnastics helped grow you both as a student and a Christian?

I have definitely learned that things worth doing aren’t easy and those are going to be the hardest things to achieve, but they are going to be worth it. You have to realize that the way you do anything is the way you do everything, so if you work hard in your sport, you’re going to work hard at school too.

I learned that gymnastics is merely a tool God can use to encourage others and use my talents for His glory. Knowing my identity isn’t in gymnastics but in who I am because of Christ is such a blessing. I can use gymnastics as a platform to reach others who need Christ. It’s also taught me that everyone is going to fail and there will always be struggles, but what’s important is how you respond to the struggles and what your perspective is on life through the hard times.

 Who would you like to thank for helping you along in this crazy journey?

 Definitely my parents and sister. They always told me that as long as you do your best, that’s all that matters. It sounds cliché, but they encourage me, telling me they love me and support me not because of my performance but because I’m their child. They sacrifice so much for me to be able to do this sport, whether it’s money, time, energy, or going to meets and practices. I know a lot of parents wouldn’t sacrifice as much and be so selfless as they are. They’ve had to give up so much for me to pursue my dreams and make it possible for me to make it this far. Without their support and encouragement, I don’t know where I’d be. They don’t value me because of what I can do but because of who I am. I know they will support me no matter what.