By Shannon McNamara for WVUsports.com
December 28, 2011 01:22 PM
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Throughout the 2012 preseason, the West Virginia University gymnastics team and staff will periodically check in with Mountaineer fans, providing updates on the progress made in Cary Gym and the weight room. The team also will share stories from its multiple team-bonding trips and activities.
Tumblers’ Tales is now featuring the Mountaineer newcomers, with the 17th entry centering on freshman Maci Sump. A native of Lansing, Mich., Sump brings a dancer-like quality to her gymnastics that has excited the WVU coaches.
A level 10 gymnast out of Twistars USA Gymnastics Club, Sump was a two-time Junior Olympics National Championships qualifier and placed 19th in the all-around at the 2010 championships. She also placed fifth in the all-around at the 2009 NIT Championships.
A pre-elementary education major, with a minor in special education, Sump is expected to push on bars and floor this season. The coaching staff also is excited about her potential on beam.MSNsportsNet.com: Do you feel like you have learned a lot already in Cary Gym?
I would definitely say I’m learning a lot. My coaches and teammates are both very helpful in the gym. They encourage me to learn. Are you learning new skill sets?
Yes. I switched up my bars routine and added new skills. I actually like it a lot. It’s an easier, simpler routine that should score really well, and I’m looking forward to competing it. Is there a specific skill you’re excited to compete?
My new dismount! I do a toe front (dismount). It’s really easy, and I think it looks good because of my lines. Do you see yourself as a powerful gymnast?
I see myself as that type of gymnast sometimes, but when I’m on the floor, I feel like I show my lines and my grace, and I’m more elegant.
I try to feel more powerful on vault; it’s easier to feel strength there. Which do you prefer: being a powerful gymnast or a graceful gymnast?
I like being a graceful gymnast. The coaching staff is really excited to get your bars routine in competition. How would you access your progress?
I feel like it’s coming along a lot, and I’ve been feeling more confident in the gym. Is that your favorite event to compete?
Yes. I feel like it’s easier, and it comes naturally to me. Others have told me that I look beautiful when I swing, and that’s nice to hear. Is this year’s freshman class as close-knit as it appears?
Yes, definitely! We came in and developed a fast, strong bond with each other. We hang out in the dorms a lot – we’ll go to each others’ rooms and just hang and talk. It has been like that since day one. Does that bond help when you’re living seven hours away from home?
Yes. It’s kind of weird. Sometimes, when we’re in the gym, I’ll look at one of my teammates and she’ll remind me of a friend back at home. Having that familiarity is nice because I feel like I can act the same way I would at home.
(Being away from home) was hard the first few days, but then it got a lot easier. What was one thing you looked forward to doing while at home over the holiday break?
We always have Christmas Eve party at my house, and it’s great to see all of my family and friends. Are you already looking forward to going to Michigan on Feb. 3 and competing in your home state?
I’m really excited! I was hoping that we would compete somewhere in Michigan so all of my family could come to the meet and watch the Mountaineers. Hopefully, there will be a big group there!What has been your favorite memory so far at WVU?
It’s been nice to just realize that I’m actually at WVU and that everything I was working toward has come true. I’m at WVU, and I’m with my new teammates and coaches, and it’s just a blast.
The first semester was just amazing, and I think the next one will be even better because competition season is about to start. I’m excited to compete and travel with the team.
I’m definitely happy to be a Mountaineer.
Follow WVU Gymnastics on Twitter: @WVU Gymnastics