Tumbling to the top

Freshman+Mihika+Sharma+%28second+from+left%29+qualified+for+nationals+for+the+third+year+in+a+row.+
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Tumbling to the top

Freshman Mihika Sharma (second from left) qualified for nationals for the third year in a row.

Freshman Mihika Sharma (second from left) qualified for nationals for the third year in a row.

provided by Mihika Sharma

Freshman Mihika Sharma (second from left) qualified for nationals for the third year in a row.

provided by Mihika Sharma

provided by Mihika Sharma

Freshman Mihika Sharma (second from left) qualified for nationals for the third year in a row.

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Hour after hour, freshman Mihika Sharma dedicates herself to practice at the gym; averaging 16 hours a week. Qualifying for nationals for the third year in a row, Sharma competed in level eight trampoline and tumbling at the state championship in April and came out on top.

“It was very accomplishing,” Sharma said. “Everything that I’ve worked for paid off. Last year, it was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and this year I’m pretty sure it’s in North Carolina.”

For the past 13 years, the 15-year-old Sharma has devoted most of her free time to the gym, however, that can come with consequences. More than 86,000 people suffer a gymnastic-related injury each year, and Sharma is no different.

provided by Mihika Sharma
Freshman Mihika Sharma claims 1st place at the state championship in April.

“Never giving up,” Sharma said. “There have been weeks where I’ve had bad weeks. It hasn’t made me stop and quit, it’s made me want to work harder and accomplish what I’m trying for. I’ve broken my arm, I’ve broken my ankle, I’ve messed up my ankles pretty bad. I have a knee problem, a back problem. But it’s all good.”

Training at Eagle Gymnastics Academy for the past eight years, Sharma reached the pinnacle with her state title.

“She’s been a joy to coach,” gymnastics coach Jared Olson said via text. “She listens well, tries hard to make correction and is a hard worker. It was very exciting for all of us as this was her first time being crowned state champion. I’ve only been coaching her for the just year and a half. During that year and a half she has improved immensely in her aesthetics and skill difficulty.”

Teammate Bailey Coyle has cherished her time with Sharma.

“Doing gymnastics with Mihika has been a lot fun,” Coyle said. “We’ve gotten to know each other by being able to bond over our love for gymnastics. Over these past 5 years I’ve seen her improve in so many ways but I’ve really seen her confidence improve.”

Taking off-campus physical education rather than participating in campus sports, Sharma doesn’t regret the sacrifices she’s made despite an increased risk of injury.

“My passion for gymnastics is still there,” Sharma said. “Even though I get hurt, I always just get back up when I’m healed and just keep going because it’s the sport that I love.”