Former KidzPlex gymnast thriving at Southern Utah
Lindsey Schultz is reaping the benefits of someone who has fought through adversity and remained patient.
Schultz, a Fruita Monument High School graduate, is one of the top gymnasts at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. A junior, Schultz owns the school scoring record in the vault (9.950), which she set in a home meet against the University of Iowa.
Schultz’s love of gymnastics has kept her competing when others might have given up the sport. At 5-foot-8, Schultz is considered extremely tall in a sport where the average height on her own team is 5-2.
The rigors of the sport have taken their toll. She’s fought through back pain as well as hyperextending both knees her first year at SUU. Last season, Schultz was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her lower back.
“We couldn’t train that much, so I would mentally prepare every day,” Schultz said. “When I started competing again it was a really amazing experience because with every meet I have gotten mentally tougher and my gymnastics has improved a lot.”
Brian Bensley was Schultz’s coach at KidzPlex since she moved to Grand Junction from the suburbs of Chicago during her sophomore year of high school. Bensley said the setbacks gave her a desire to succeed.
“She has had to develop some toughness,” Bensley said. “She had to be patient and she has struggled a lot, so it shows her determination. Where many other gymnasts would have given up, she has gone on to win a lot of meets in the vault.”
Schultz wasn’t a natural in her specialty, the vault.
“When she came to us it took her three years to learn vault and it is still a good example to our kids,” said Bensley, who uses her story of learning the discipline to inspire his current students.
Schultz has always had an intense work ethic and will, which serves the individual sport well, but at SUU she has learned the differences between club gymnastics and college gymnastics.
“It is a team sport here and you have to rely on your other teammates,” Schultz said. “It is the next step that you have to be more focused on what you are doing, while also being there for your team. In club, you do your routine and that is all you worry about.”
Schultz and her Thunderbird teammates are preparing for the NCAA regional Saturday against Stanford, Arkansas, Michigan, Arizona State and Arizona in Fayetteville, Ark.
“We want to hit our routines 24 of 24 and do what we can to get to nationals,” Schultz said.
“Mostly we just want to go out there and have a great time, because that is what gymnastics is all about.”
If Southern Utah finishes in the top two, it will qualify for the NCAA nationals April 16-18.
Schultz can also qualify individually if she wins an event or finishes as one of the top two gymnasts not associated with the advancing teams.
No matter how Schultz finishes this year, she still has one more year in a sport that has given her big challenges and big rewards.
“My goals are to come back even healthier and come back and maybe compete in all four events,” Schultz said. “I would love to go out there and win the (Western Athletic
Conference), win regionals and go to nationals and do well there.”
Her senior year will end her gymnastics career.
“After my senior year I will be done with gymnastics,” Schultz said. “I think it will always be a part of my life, but my body will be ready to be done competing.”