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January 14, 2014

Olympia’s ‘most accomplished gymnast’

Local gymnast, Shermetaro, receives NCAA Division I scholarship

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Gymnast Alyssa Shermetaro, left, is pictured with her mom, Anne. Shermetaro received a scholarship to the University of Washington.

For three years in a row, Rochester Hills native and gymnast Alyssa Shermetaro sustained injuries that kept her out for months at a time.

Aside from dealing with those injuries, Shermetaro said she trains approximately 19 hours per week during the school year and 25 in the summer.

And while Shermetaro may have had some ‘why am I doing this?’ moments along the way, she was rewarded for all the time, effort and perseverance with a full-ride scholarship to the University of Washington.

“It’s totally worth it,” she said. “It’s so nice, because you finally are seeing how all your hard work is paying off. I’m so excited. It’s awesome to have even gotten the opportunity to get a full-ride.”

Aside from referencing a “really good support system” in regards to her family, friends, coaches and teammates, Shermetaro cited hard work and a “want to do it” as a couple of the keys to earning a gymnastics scholarship. Receiving a scholarship isn’t the only benefit that has come as a result of her time as a gymnast.

“A major one, especially during my injuries — the patience of having to go through all the rehab and not just rush back in,” Shermetaro said of life lessons that have come from being a gymnast. “I was not a very patient person, so that really helped — also, the determination to have to come back. You are part of a team, so you learn how to be a leader or just a good teammate. Responsibility — you have to know all about that. Those are probably the main ones you learn from the sport.”

Shermetaro, who said she has been involved in gymnastics since she was 5 years old, trains at Olympia Gymnastics Academy. The kind of success Shermetaro has enjoyed isn’t likely to come as much of a surprise to Olympia Gymnastics Academy head coach Lori Koch.

“She is Olympia’s most accomplished gymnast,” she said. “We’ve been here 18 years, and she has made the highest level here at our gym. Alyssa is very self-motivated, had high aspirations for herself and is also very smart about setting goals that are realistic — phenomenal job of setting those goals and then meeting them to the max. I think that’s where she really sets the example here at our gym.”

Shermetaro is set to begin at Washington in the fall, and aside from receiving the chance to compete at the college level, she also expressed excitement about the opportunity to experience a different culture.

“I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “I think it will be a good change. It’ll be different culturally and socially — new things and new experiences. I’m really excited to go through all that.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.