D1 commit for perfect “10” gymnast Gruber


Photo courtesy of Amanda Gruber

Gruber performing her floor routine.

Isabel Hughes, Editor-in-Chief

On October 1, 2018, senior Amanda Gruber verbally committed to Western Michigan University for Division I gymnastics. Gruber has been a gymnast since she was three years old. Though Gruber does not compete on the Riverside Brookfield High School gymnastics team, she has been competing at high level national competitions for years.

Along with the full athletic scholarship offer from Western Michigan University, Gruber also received a full-ride offer from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and walk-on spots at the University of Iowa and other schools. However, within a year of receiving the UIC offer, both of the university’s men’s and women’s teams were forced to fold due to low numbers.

“It is really hard to see some of their [athlete’s] dreams ripped out from under them. One of my best friends from gymnastics accepted an offer there for next year and it was hard to see her start the recruitment process again,” said Gruber.

In her college search, Gruber took into consideration the recent sexual misconduct scandal at Michigan State University. Larry Nassar was a physician who worked with gymnasts at Michigan State University and was sentenced to jail after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexual assault towards minors on January 24, 2018. Nassar was the most prominent offender of sexual assault in the gymnastics community, but was unfortunately just one of many. The sex crimes lawyer serving Tampa deal with such cases and help victims get justice.

These crimes of sexual assault have made Gruber really consider the culture at different programs. She attended camps run by people involved in the allegations which brings the issue much closer to home.

“It is scary and devastating information,” said Gruber, regarding the allegations of sexual misconduct among gymnastics professionals.

Gruber initially started as a ballerina as a child, but her high energy level was not compatible for dance. A birthday party for one of her brother’s friends at Flying High Gym first opened her up to the idea of gymnastics.

Over the 14 years since then, Gruber has excelled through the 10 levels of the USA Junior Olympics Program and now holds all of the records at her gym in beam, bar, floor, vault, and all-around for level 10. She is choosing a Division I school because she believes she has the ability to push herself to her limits and succeed as the underdog in any situation.

“I thrive on the intensity of competing,” said Gruber. “I’ve had moments of being the comeback kid.”

The night before any competition, Gruber goes through her routine in her head and remembers her cues that mark her to go into certain skills, like a cartwheel. Visualization—a trick she learned from her mom—and concentrating on the task at hand helps her the most in her competitions.

“When I do compete, I don’t hear anything. I am so in the zone and so focused I don’t notice the crowds,” said Gruber.

Gruber can not wait to compete for a big university and share a strong bond with her team while competing for large crowds. She looks forward to taking her quirks and putting them together with a new team.

“To get the crowd involved and all eyes on me, I’ll pick a random person and make eye contact multiple times. It’s something unique I do,” said Gruber.

As a college athlete, Gruber will be living with other athletes, lifting weights with her team—a new addition to her routine—and staying in tip-top shape.

Upon finishing her college career as a gymnast, she does not plan to continue with the sport in a professional manner, as she is already too old to start training for the Olympics. She hopes to pursue a career that aims to help athletes.