January 11, 2017 10:49 PM
(ABC 6 News) – The Austin Packers gymnastics team is having a strong season so far, they’re undefeated through January 11th, and are in prime position to reach their 5th straight state tournament come later this winter—they’re a contender because of their all-around senior star Maddie Mullenbach.
“She’s great in the classroom, she’s a great daughter at home, and she’s a great teammate also,” Packers head coach Matt Schmit said. “She’s been a rock for us.”
Mullenbach is described as a “special talent” by Schmit who teammates look up to often for advice and guidance. “This sport is based off of whether you want to push your limits,” Mullenbach said. “It’s a daily thing.”
She’s also made life easy for Schmit, who’s in his first year as the Packers’ head coach. “She’s willing to do things for you as a coaching staff, even coaches coming in, she’s willing to talk them through things,” Schmit said. “It’s been fantastic to have her.”
Mullenbach is literally an all-around talent—she’s the defending Class A individual all-around champion, meaning she competes in the floor, beams, vault, and bars. Coach Schmit said there’s not one weakness in her gymnastics abilities. “She’s good at everything,” Schmit said. “I’d say she excels at floor a little bit more, but I’d say she’s good at everything.”
When asked what her favorite event is, Mullenbach said without hesitation, it’s the floor. “I just love the fact that your routine is personal,” Mullenbach said. “Your routine is choreographed to fit who you are, and when you choreograph it, you can tell the person that ‘I don’t think I can do this,’ or try something different, you can personalize it.”
Mullenbach has been on the Packers’ varsity squad since 8th grade, and she’s been a part of a Packers team which has reached each of the previous four Class A state tournament. As she’s grown older and become more experienced in high school gymnastics, she’s become fearless. “Being able to work through fear, and still throw things and still work hard every single day despite things being scary or hard is something she does as well as anybody I’ve seen,” Schmit added.
If Mullenbach returns to state later this winter, for her, ironically, it’s not about winning and repeating as a state champion. “When you focus on winning, I feel like it stresses you out and it kind of pulls you off with the purpose of being there,” Mullenbach said. “The purpose of being there is representing yourself and having fun. I don’t think the key going into state is saying ‘I’m going to win this thing’.”
It’s an attitude which she tries to pass on to her teammates on a daily basis as well. “It’s important to stay positive so other kids in the gym don’t catch on with all of the negativity. Every gymnast has their bad days, but you kind of have to brush it aside because that’s how you’re successful in this sport.”
“It’s about personal qualities. Being trustworthy and respectful towards teammates, that’s what I hope to carry on there. That’s what it’s all about is having fun. Whether you mess up or have a really good day, it’s still exciting.”
Updated: January 11, 2017 10:49 PM
Created: January 11, 2017 08:20 PM
Copyright 2017 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company
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