Flipping Into the Future

Senior Hanan Vasquez is going to college for tumbling and acro

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Flipping Into the Future

Hanan in Paris showing off some of her acro skills

Hanan in Paris showing off some of her acro skills

Photo Provided by: Hanan Vazquez

Hanan in Paris showing off some of her acro skills

Photo Provided by: Hanan Vazquez

Photo Provided by: Hanan Vazquez

Hanan in Paris showing off some of her acro skills

The school year of 2018-2019 is coming to an end, and the graduating class of 2019 is getting ready to go off to college. Senior Hanan Vasquez is going to college for tumbling and acro, something most people would not expect.

Tumbling and acro is basically a different form of cheer, involving floor, stunts and pyramids.Not many colleges in Texas offer a program for tumbling and acro, so this was not a very long decision process for Vasquez.

“There [are] only about three colleges in Texas that have a tumbling and acro program, and I didn’t really know much about it,” Vasquez said. “So an administrator from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (UMHB) found me on Instagram with my gymnastics background, and they direct messaged me. I went to visit the campus, and I verbally committed recently.”

Vasquez has a long history with the competitive gymnastics field, but she only recently started competing in tumbling and acro.

“I only started doing tumbling and acro around the time when the UMHB [administrator messaged] me, so only for about four or five months now, but I’ve been doing gymnastics for 10 years,” Vasquez said.

Even though Vasquez has been doing gymnastics much longer than she’s been doing tumbling and acro, she’s very excited about the new challenge.

“Whenever they were recruiting me, she had me watch a bunch of videos of [their team] doing their competitions, and it looked really fun,” Vasquez said. “Tumbling and acro is more of a group thing, whereas gymnastics was just one person, and I think it’ll make it more fun and makes it easier to compete.”

Because she has done gymnastics for so long, Vasquez has made many lifelong memories.

“My favorite memory was when I had a competition at the NRG Stadium,” Vasquez said. “It was the first time I had ever won first all around, and I was competing against people across the nation, so it was pretty cool.”

Vasquez had always wanted to go to college for gymnastics, but many obstacles got in her way.

“My gym where I train actually went bankrupt about a year and a half ago and I didn’t have any place to go, so I stopped training for a long time,” Vasquez said. “Whenever I was getting back into it, I ruptured my achilles, so I had to have surgery and stop again while I recovered.”

Vasquez has also suffered many other serious and minor injuries in her gymnastics journey, but nevertheless she kept going.

“I ruptured my achilles over a year ago, and I’m still getting back into it,” Vasquez said. “I also have major strains on both achilles, and have hyper-extended both of my elbows. I’ve been in wheelchairs at school and crutches three times.”

With these injuries came doubt about living out her lifelong dream: collegiate gymnastics.

“It was always my dream for the longest time, except whenever I hurt myself and when my gym closed, I decided I would figure something out with music,.” Vasquez said. “But a couple months ago, that dream revived when [UMHB] messaged me, and it’s so cool to think I’m actually training now that [my dream is] coming back to life again.”

Vasquez has gotten lot’s of support from her friends, family, and even her coach about her decision.

“My parents have both been super supportive because they’ve never had a child with a big college experience,” Vasquez said. “I have an older brother, but he never got that big experience with all of the talking and colleges wanting to recruit, so they’ve been helping me a lot. My coach has also been supportive by letting me train at his gym for a couple days a week, helping me with what skills I need to have, and if it’s going to be the right match for me in college.”

Many students have extracurricular activities they need to balance with their school work, which can often be difficult.

“It’s really rough, but during the day I have my planner with everything on it, and I get to classes a bit early so that I can get some homework done that I won’t be able to do that night,” Vasquez said. “Anytime I have a free moment, I’m doing homework and studying, but other than that I’m at practice.”

Many college courses involve a lot of after school assignments, which may be hard to balance at times.

“I’ll be traveling around the U.S. a lot next year, and I’ll still have my other classes that I have to do work in, so I think that’ll be the most difficult thing,” Vasquez said.

With going to college brings new people, a whole new campus and new opportunities.

“I’m excited to get all the different courses you can try because I want to do art and music and also being a little bit more free from my parents even though I’m very dependent on them,” Vasquez said. “Also just having that team, since I’ve never really been in a team per say. I’m just really excited all around.

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