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Crossing Paths

Inside the 2020 Fitness gym, sophomore Brooklyn Beck squats, cradling a 12-pound kettlebell weight. To her right, sophomore Abby Gorman finishes another pushup, mid-burpee. And on the other side of the gym, past the pull-up bars and kettlebell station, junior Emily Eadens directs nine children pushing sleds twice their size.   

Beck, Gorman and sophomore Aislinn Menke spent all of gymnastics season hearing about Eaden’s CrossFit workouts and the shiny new equipment that filled the 2020 Fitness gym she started going to a little over a year ago.

By the end of the season, Beck, Gorman and Menke were all signed up for the same class.    

“I was really happy to see them there and get to share that with them and share that part of my life and what I love so much with them,”  Eadens said.  

Now, four months post-gymnastics, CrossFit acts as a continuation of their season — keeping them in shape and in touch.  

According to the girls, once gymnastics is through, the closeness they adopt during the season slowly dissolves. No more blasting music on their carpool to meets, no more team dinners and no more sparkly bow-making prior to state. Waves in the hallways or 50 silent minutes of note taking in biology together were poor substitutes for the usual daily two-hour practices.    

Now they have CrossFit. Now they have forty-five minute workouts four times a week where they see each other at their worst – ponytails drooping and sweat turning their pink shirts red. Now they have newfound nicknames to yell at each other during bear crawl relay races.  

“I like it because they’re really good friends [of mine] that I don’t get to see that much during the school day because maybe we’re in different grades or we take different classes, so it’s a good way for us to get stronger for [gymnastics] season but also stay in touch,” Beck said.

Beck, Gorman, Menke and sophomore Evelyn Roesner, who was convinced by the gymnasts to join as preparation for track season, began the sports performance class which places an emphasis on cardio, weights and gymnastics conditioning. Because Eadens is enrolled in an adult-level class separate from her teammates, water breaks serve as time to check in on Eadens as she coaches a kids class.  

Although there’s no more bow making, they maintain the teammate comradery in medicine ball relay races and sprints. The girls don’t let grueling five-minute sets of burpees or bike races keep them from enjoying their time together.

“I think it’s so much easier to get to know someone by not just hanging out with him but working out or playing a sport together,” Beck said. “It shows how determined they are and how they have the same interests as you and the same goals as you.”

They argue over who’s going to become the most ripped in their group chat entitled “CrossFit Squad” complete with a powerlifting emoji. Their messages are filled with gifs of Menke’s favorite celebrity or pleas from Gorman for someone to go with her to class today. And when somebody decides to skip, it becomes an open roast season.  

When they aren’t teasing each other, the motivation they use during gymnastics season carries over to their time in the gym. It’s not the usual screaming at the top of their lungs as one of them salutes at the start of their floor routine. Instead, it’s eye contact, a reassuring smile, and a “You can do this!” according to Gorman.

“It helps hearing a little ‘Go Abby!’ Gorman said. “It really helps because then you’re like ‘Oh my gosh, I can do this. I’m almost done.’”

But they’re working hard, too, not just keeping up friendships. Menke, Beck, Gorman and Eadens don’t participate in club gymnastics so 2020 Fitness is where they get the majority of their workouts in.  

According to Beck, strength is vital for executing certain gymnastics skills and helps with injury prevention. The gymnastics portion of their class helps build up that necessary muscle needed to swing over the bars at a meet with exercises like handstands and pull-ups.  

“What’s most impressive is they’re so flexible, and because of that, they can really push themselves whereas other students might have trouble with mobility,” their sports performance class coach, Heidi Delaney said.  “That’s not an issue for them, so they can go a little harder during the workouts.”

By the time next season rolls around, they won’t have to fill each other in on their summer vacation to Colorado or what their schedule is — they’ll already have talked about it at last night’s CrossFit session.


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Jackie Cameron

Jackie Cameron is a sophomore at Shawnee Mission East and is a page designer and writer for the Harbinger. Jackie keeps herself busy with tennis, soccer and episodes of The Office. This will be her first year on staff and she's excited for what's to come. Read Full »

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