Prep Gymnastics

Valparaiso gymnast Allyson Kraft continues to rise to the challenge

2012-02-19T17:00:00Z 2012-03-13T16:15:23Z Valparaiso gymnast Allyson Kraft continues to rise to the challengeBy Jim Hunsley jim.hunsley@nwi.com, (219) 548-4356 nwitimes.com
February 19, 2012 5:00 pm  • 

Allyson Kraft might not have started her prep gymnastics career with a massive skills set, but that hasn't prevented the Valparaiso senior from becoming an integral part of the lineup.

Kraft placed 27th on vault at the state meet as freshman. Last year, she competed on three events and was second on the team with her 22nd on beam (8.95). She's been a part of three state championship teams, and she's never experienced a loss in a Duneland Athletic Conference dual meet. On the state gymnastics web site, she's eighth on beam (9.55) and 16th in all-around (36.7).

"She had no twisting vaults and she didn't have any hard skills on beam," Valparaiso coach Lorie Cook said of Kraft's modest beginnings. "She really took things to heart. ... She's learned a huge amount of difficult skills and put herself in a situation to contribute.

"It's not always where you start, it's more important where you end up."

Kraft is one of three seniors on this year's squad, and she's helped keep the four-time defending state champions unbeaten so far this season.

In the top-ranked Vikings' closest meet of the year, a 111.95-110.875 DAC nail-biter victory against No. 3 Portage on Feb. 9, Kraft provided a huge lift on beam.

The senior heard the noise created by the host Indians' fan section, but that didn't keep her from winning the event with a 9.475.

"They were extremely loud and rowdy," Kraft said. "I just used that energy to make my best routine. I had my teammates by my side."

The routine included a newly-learned twisting back dismount.

"It didn't come easy for her," Cook said. "She kept her nose to the grindstone.

"That routine was huge. It was pretty rewarding to watch."

Kraft remains pretty humble about her success, giving most of the credit to others.

"When I was a freshman, I definitely never pictured myself doing the stuff I'm doing now," Kraft said. "The coaches have motivated me, and my teammates have pushed me to get new skills.

"That senior group did a really good job of showing me what was right and acceptable. I've carried on all of that stuff and teach it now."

Cook believes that Kraft is a great example of what hard work and perseverance can do for an athlete.

"She's pretty much living proof of what you need to do," Cook said. "She's learned that you have to be ready at any point, and she's responded."

The next big test is Saturday's DAC meet at defending champion Chesterton.

"There's no time for rest," Kraft said. "(Last year's) loss is in back of my mind, and we just try to not dwell on it.

"We've been able to bounce back before, and everyone knows that they have to be ready."

That's been a part of Kraft's mindset for four seasons.

"It's been really exciting to look back and see how everything has changed for me," she said. "There's a little bit of shock. It's was a little scary at the beginning, but it's turned into a great experience."

 

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Who was the area's best baseball player this season?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News