BY JESSICA BERNSTEIN
Sophomore gymnast Lauren Maykut sprained her ankle in the summer of 2017 while warming up on her bar dismount. Many athletes at the Bay, such as Maykut, are subject to injury as a result of pushing themselves too hard, but Maykut’s injury was life altering.
“I had to stop gymnastics completely in June of last year; it was heartbreaking, but my ankle just could not handle it anymore,” Maykut said. “I have learned a lot, and I am now a stronger person because of it.”
Maykut expressed that gymnastics will always be a huge part of her life.
“I started becoming interested in gymnastics when I was 5 years old watching the Olympics,” Maykut said. “I did gymnastics for 11 years, so it’s not just a sport to me; it’s a lifestyle.”
Maykut’s gymnastics performance consists of a variety of moves and techniques. According to Maykut, the diversity of her gymnastics group is what makes each performance better. Without her, the team really struggled.
“I had to stop gymnastics completely in June of last year: it was heartbreaking, but my ankle just could not handle it anymore,” Maykut said. “I have learned a lot, and I am now a stronger person because of it.”
At first, her decision to stop competing in gymnastics was a depressed one, but as time went, once she realized her health was more important.
“I was sad because it was right before states and regionals so that meant I had to miss out on those competitions,” Maykut said. “I think gymnastics brought out the best version of myself, and at first, I couldn’t stand the thought of living without it.”
Maykut’s gymnastic memories still hold dear to her, but after joining the Cypress Bay cheer team, she has opened her heart up to new experiences.
“I tried out for the Cypress Bay junior varsity cheerleading team, and it created the feeling of accomplishment and recognition,” Maykut said. “Being praised with all the applauses and friends coming up to you is something I will always remember.”
Maykut expressed her significant enjoyment towards cheerleading and how it brings her out of her comfort zone. Maykut’s previous stage fright, and fears of performing in front of an audience have improved since joining the cheer team.
“When I joined, I had terrible fears of performing in front of a bunch of people. Over months, it went away and I learned to become more open to others all because of cheerleading,” Maykut said.
Junior cheerleader Makenzie Roach said that Maykut brought a lot to the program, and she understands that practice makes perfect in cheerleading.
“She works hard and gives every cheer her all,” Roach said. “She made sure she learned all the cheers and was always up for a challenge.”
Although Maykut enjoyed the opportunities, she said juggling cheerleading and school was not an easy task.
“Even though I’m only a sophomore, this year was very challenging for me and cheer took up a lot of my time,” Maykut said.
Maykut cheered at every junior varsity football game this season, in which her ankle proved not to be a significant problem for her while cheerleading.
“All I can say is I wish I joined cheer sooner,” Maykut said. “Cheer has made me who I am today, and even though gymnastics was a huge part of my life, cheerleading is just special in so many ways.”