Today: Jun 25, 2024

Freshman Nicole Pruchnik makes immediate impact

photo courtesy | southernctowls.com Nicole Pruchnik

Josh Falcone – Staff Writer

Southern Owls freshman gymnast Nicole Pruchnik has a strong passion for the sport she currently thrives in.

“Just doing gymnastics makes me happy and excited,” she said.

photo courtesy | southernctowls.comNicole Pruchnik
photo courtesy | southernctowls.com
Nicole Pruchnik

The Rochester Mass. native Pruchnik said she has been a gymnast for nearly 14 years.

“I started when I was four,” she said.

Pruchnik said she has always had a knack for the flips and tumbling that are crucial to gymnastics.

“I was a dancer before this when I was younger,” Pruchnik said, “and I would always cry, so my mother said ‘you’re done, you’re going to flip’ because she told me I would always flip on the sofas. She was like ‘yeah, we’re done with dance’.”

Pruchnik attended Rochester Regional High School. In the 2010 Eastern Championships, she finished first on the beam and vault and finished fourth in the All-Around in the Level 10 state championships in 2011.

In her first season here at Southern, Pruchnik has continued her success. Pruchnik said she has already had numerous memorable moments.

“The first meet, going out and I hit three for three,” she said “it was a great feeling and then being named Athlete of the Month here at Southern.”

Pruchnik said she was also proud to be named Rookie of the Week and Gymnast of the Week in consecutive weeks by the ECAC last month.

“That was a nice feeling, that was great,” she said.

Pruchnik garnered the Rookie of the Week honor after the Owls swept Yale and Ithaca January 20th. Pruchnik finished with the top overall score on the floor exercise with a 9.725 and a first place finish overall on the vault with a 9.55.

The gymnast of the week honor was the result of another strong showing by Pruchnik in a decisive win over Rhode Island College on January 26th, where she finished first overall again in the floor exercise with a 9.75, a first place overall on the beam with a 9.475 and a second place finish on the vault with a 9.55.

Gymnastics coach Jerry Nelson said he and the coaches are ecstatic to have Pruchnik as part of the Owls team.

“We are so pleased to have her dynamic personality and her ability as an athlete,” Nelson said.

On Sunday in their latest meet, the Owls swept Springfield College and Rhode Island College and now stand at 7-4 on the year. Along with the resounding sweep, the Owls posted their highest score thus far this season with a 188.7. Pruchnik was a significant part of that. She finished third overall on the vault with a 9.5. As well as finishing second overall on the beam with 9.65.

Nelson said that a judge at the meet on Sunday commented to him about Pruchnik, telling him that he had a “diamond in the rough,” Nelson agreed with that statement.

He added, “She’s already shining.”

Pruchnik said that the team has had great success due to the team having profound discipline but also a touch of easiness.

“I think we always want to think of having fun too,” she said, “because you always perform better when you are having fun, you’re not as stressed out. It’s just like everything flows.”

Going forward this season, Pruchnik said the team just needs to take it one step at a time.

“After every meet, you learn your strengths and you learn your weaknesses,” she said. “You just have to go into the next meet trying to fix them.”

Nelson said he believes Pruchnik as only way to go and that is up.

“I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of her over the next four years.”

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