Long commutes and strong commitment to the sport pay off for Summit County gymnast
The sport of gymnastics is already a huge commitment with many hours spent perfecting form in practice and money being spent to pay knowledgeable coaches.
Summit High School sophomore Naya Rostad’s commitment to gymnastics goes beyond the average gymnast. Rostad doesn’t just devote four hours after school each day to train for her next gymnastics competition. The Summit County local also travels five days a week to Vail in order to suit up for practice. The result is close to 250 miles and a minimum of five hours spent driving each week.
The time commitment has paid off for Rostad. The young Level 7 gymnast placed fifth overall at the 2022 Colorado Level 7, 9, 10 State Championships back in March.
Rostad placed fifth overall against older competition by placing first in the vault, eighth on the bars, fourth on the balance beam and eighth on the floor. Rostad was pleased with her vault performance where she scored a 9.05 out of 10 in order to win the event.
After competing at the state championship meet, Rostad got the opportunity to compete at a regional meet for Level 7 gymnasts back in April. Rostad once again shined bright at that Region 3 event as she tied for seventh on vault, placed 10th on bars, sixth on the balance beam and tied for 12th on the floor. Rostad earned a combined 36.725 points out of 40 points to place eighth overall.
Rostad has been doing gymnastics since she was 3 years old but didn’t start competing until she was around the age of 6. In that 10- to 12-year span since she first started in the sport, Rostad has trained at the Silverthorne Recreation Center before she decided to enroll at Vail Gymnastics Center to be coached by former Olympic hopeful Julie Cotter.
Though the commitment to drive to Vail each day — sometimes in a full-blown snow storm — has been challenging at times, Rostad views the hours spent commuting to and from practice worthwhile, especially after notching top performances this past season.
One of Rostad’s biggest challenges with spending a good chunk of time commuting is figuring out how to balance gymnastics and a full, high school academic workload.
“I usually go straight from school to practice, so I get the majority of my work done at school or late at night,” Rostad said of how she makes time for gymnastics and school. “This past February, I skipped about 20 classes through traveling and everything, and I finally just got caught up.”
Rostad said the teachers are understanding as along as she communicates she is working on completing the assignments. Rostad is also aided by the post-pandemic classroom which still consists of online assignments, which are easier to do on the road.
In gymnastics competitions, Rostad feels most comfortable on the floor.
“My best event is the floor which has always been my favorite since I was younger,” Rostad said. “You get to choose your music and dance to it.”
Rostad’s success over the past few years hasn’t happened without any bumps in the road. Like a lot of gymnasts, Rostad battled overcoming mental barriers as she started to grow and develop.
“When you’re growing you start to change, and your mind becomes a little harder to work with,” Rostad said. “Usually gymnasts start when they are really small, and when you grow it can be challenging to adjust to all the skills you previously knew how to do.”
With so much dedication and time put into the sport, Rostad aspires to continue to grow as a gymnast over the next few years.
“I would love to get a college scholarship to a Divison I, II or III school, which would be really nice, but I would also, later on in my life, like to coach gymnastics or be a part of the gymnastic community,” Rostad said.
Rostad has concluded participating in competitions this season but will continue to train for competitions starting in December.
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