Usually athletes who play at schools come from relatively close driving distances. But there are always a few who come from longer distances for various reasons.
Some of the women on the Penn State gymnastics team come from farther away in the country like Florida, Colorado, even Texas.
Why would gymnasts travel all that way to come to Penn State?
Most gymnasts have been doing this sport since they were children. Once they finish high school, they must look at universities to stay competing.
Some state schools don’t offer many options for collegiate gymnastics as junior Lindsay Musgrove and sophomore Alex Witt can agree on.
“I did gymnastics since I was two, I knew I wanted to do that in college too,” Musgrove said. “There are no colleges in Texas that offer gymnastics, so I knew I had to move out of state anyway.”
Witt was in a similar situation in Florida.
“There’s only one school in Florida that has gymnastics,” Witt said. “I didn’t want to go there because everyone from Florida goes there.”
The Odessa, Florida native had always wanted to go to school out of state.
Then came the time to search which school to go to.
“I looked up northern schools and saw Penn State was great academically and had a great gymnastics team,” Musgrove said.
For other gymnasts, their family ties to Penn State extend past the tri-state area and into the other side of the country, as in senior Sharaya Musser’s case.
“My dad went to Penn State and I was raised as a Penn Stater in Colorado,” Musser said. “Growing up, I’ve always dreamed of coming to Penn State and competing.”
The Colorado Springs, Colo. native had offers from other schools but never went to visits.
The distance away from loved ones can be difficult at times for the gymnasts.
“It was tough being so far away from my family,” Musser said. “They can only come to one competition a year since I have younger siblings living at home.”
Musser’s grandparents moved here last year to ease the distance gap and be with her.
For the senior, getting adjusted to the State College weather was no problem. As for Musgrove and Witt, it was a different story.
“The first time I ever saw snow was in my freshman year,” Musgrove said. “I got so excited, I put on like 10 jackets, a hat, and gloves, and ran out to class yelling, ‘It’s snowing!’”
Witt had seen snow before coming here, but it took her time to adjust to the cold weather.
“Sometimes I forget it’s cold here,” Witt said. “I’ll wear a hoodie outside and it’ll be 14 degrees and freezing.”
But getting acclimated to the weather has gotten better since then.
“I’ve had to cope with the cold weather but it’s fun sometimes,” Musgrove said.
As for their time here so far, the gymnasts have enjoyed every minute of it.
“When I came to Penn State, I fell in love with the school,” Witt said. “You learn so much not being just a student, but also a college athlete.”