As the 2014 season gets ready to kick off for the Tribe Gymnastics teams, the end result may come down to three words: pursue your dreams. It's a chase to be one of the 12 elusive teams that qualify for the NCAA tournament.
For the men, they are led by team captain and all-all American candidate, Daniel Potemski. The senior is the top team scorer and the recipient of the rock award – the award is given to the hardest working gymnast on the team. Daniel is the first to arrive and the last to leave.
"The biggest goal the whole season is to get the team to the NCAA's – we haven't done that since I have been here. We worked hard for it and it is time to show what we got – we earned it," he says.
Another member who has earned it is Neal Courter. Courter finished at the NCAA’s on the vault – that has only fueled the fire more to get back.
"That gives me extra motivation this year – work harder, work extra and see where it takes me."
Both gymnasts know there is a fine line from being in or being out.
"We have to score every meet and all season – there is not a lot of room for error," says Potemski.
"It comes down to being consistent."
"If there is one thing I learned, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Need to balance ourselves each meet."
Another gymnast looking to vault her way back to the NCAA’s is Brittany Stover. The sophomore is the school record holder in the all-around. She posted a score of 39.150. But the sophomore is already thinking like a leader.
"I’m hoping to step up my routine this year from last – work on the little things – do whatever I can to score for the team," Stover says.
"This team has a lot of potential talent – we have been working hard all year and I am just exicited to see what we can do this year."
Senior captain Jessica Pritchard knows what it takes to make it to the NCAA tournament. She has qualified the last two years – she placed 10th and 19th respectively in the all-around.
"It’s an eye opener experience – competing against the best gymnasts. There is so much more to take away and to have fun with every moment – and to be really supportive of all my teammates and realize that I am always there for them and hopefully help lead this team to success."
"We are very supportive of each other."
The pursuit of dreams for Larson Lasek will be delayed a week for an ankle injury, but that hasn’t stopped her from putting in the hours in the gym.
"I can’t believe it's my senior year already – it has gone by so fast. It seems like yesterday. I want to go out with a bang. I want to do the best that I can," Lasek says.
There is plenty of talent on both teams, but we wanted to know if any of them have superstitions.
"I have to put my arms up before I start," says Neal.
Jessica adds, "I need to touch my nose."
"I don’t have any unless my team does and if they do - they better take care of it!" Daniel says.
The men and women start the 2014 campaign this weekend at home in the Kaplan Arena – the ladies host Cortland State at 4 p.m. on Saturday while the men have the State Open on Sunday at 3 p.m.