The 16-year-old sophomore gymnast has already been offered a full-scholarship
Hannah Baddick still has two years of high school left, but the Gettysburg sophomore has already made her college choice.
A 16-year-old gymnast, Baddick recently gave her verbal commitment to join the women's gymnastics program at the University of New Hampshire for the 2018-2019 season. The Wildcats compete in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) at the Division I level and are currently ranked 28th in nation.
Since gymnasts typically give verbal commitments earlier than athletes in other sports, Baddick was prepared to make her decision during her sophomore year. She began getting recruited by college programs when she was still in middle school, and this year received full scholarships from Bowling Green and Kent State in addition to New Hampshire.
While she's only visited New Hampshire's campus once, Baddick said the opportunity to remain in the Northeast and play for an established college coach made the decision an easy one. Wildcats gymnastics coach Gail Goodspeed has been leading the program for 35 years.
"It was a really positive environment, and they have a strong gymnastics program," Baddick said. "There's beaches and mountains and just so much to do there. I was pretty excited, it still hasn't really set in yet. It was something that was always a goal for me but I was still in shock."
Baddick has been participating in gymnastics since she was a toddler, when her mother took her to classes at the Gettysburg YWCA. She began training at Frederick Gymnastics Club in Frederick, Md., at the age of six and still competes there under the guidance of coaches Heather Galpin and Alana Lee. Her main events are the floor exercise and the vault.
A two-time qualifier at the Eastern Nationals (the level above state and region competition), Baddick typically trains 22 hours every week while also taking all AP classes at Gettysburg. This schedule has led to plenty of late nights filled with school work.
"It's pretty difficult, and this year nationals falls on the same day as one of my AP tests, so I'm going to have to reschedule (the test)," Baddick said. "I usually do my homework in the car. My mom works really hard to get me to practice every day."
While it isn't easy to maintain her schedule, Baddick said overcoming challenges is what made her fall in love with gymnastics in the first place. She also appreciates getting the chance to travel to a variety of places for competitions, including Florida, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Baddick used to swim and ride horses when she was younger but has focused solely on gymnastics for a long time. Although she said it would be nice to play a school sport, she has no regrets about being a gymnast.
"Sometimes I wish I could represent my school and get a lettermans jacket, but I realize I’m doing a lot for myself with gymnastics, and I'm proud of that," Baddick said. "Every day with gymnastics is a challenge. You have to push yourself to learn new skills and keep your old skills at the same time."
Q&A with Baddick
What's your favorite activity outside of gymnastics?
I like photography. I live on a farm so I take pictures of stuff outside, and I make my sister dress up for me as a model.
Who's your favorite gymnast at the Olympic level?
Simone Biles. She's young (18) and ready to compete at the 2016 Olympics and is pretty amazing. She always has a smile on her face when she competes, and that's really inspiring for me.
What's your favorite sport to watch on TV?
I love football. I don't have a favorite NFL team but my favorite player is (former Penn State quarterback) Christian Hackenberg. My dad and his dad played football together in high school and are like brothers. Their family comes to our house for get-togethers. Whatever team drafts him will be my favorite team.
What are you planning to choose as your college major?
Favorite movie/TV show?
My favorite show is Gossip Girl and my favorite movie is Creed and the Rocky movies.
I listen to all kinds of music, but I like Justin Bieber.