Youd making huge strides


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Freshman gymnast Nikki Youd is quite a few miles from home.

A Panama City, Florida, native, she traveled nearly 1,000 miles to complete a class of six incoming freshmen. She has had a bit more of an adjustment period than most of her teammates.

“A lot of people were surprised when I wanted to go somewhere as far as Iowa, because a lot of people from where I live don’t go far away from home,” Youd said.  “I’m so glad I did try something new; I love it here.”

Youd spent some time as a swimmer before a friend introduced her to gymnastics at age 8.  She became well-established in the sport and developed quickly.

“I wanted to try it,” Youd said. “I never thought I would get into it as much as I did.”

By the time she was 13, her club coaches told her college gymnastics might be a possibility.

By 2012, she was the Eastern National Champion in the all-around, vault, and beam, and the following year she placed ninth on the beam at the 2013 Junior Olympic National Championships.

“I felt like she wasn’t at the peak of her gymnastics; she had a long way to go as far as where she could be, and I like that,” Iowa head coach Larissa Libby said. “We committed Nikki two years before she could commit. You have to be careful and make sure you’re finding the person that can go the distance, not only physically, but mentally.”

Youd was able to contact Libby through junior Alie Glover.  Glover and Youd became close through Gymnastics Plus, their club team, in Florida. When it came to decision time, she looked to Glover for advice.

“All I heard were good things about Larissa and the program from Alie,” Youd said.  “I kind of fell in love when Larissa came down to watch our practice right after I contacted her.”

Youd wanted to become acclimated to life away from home as a college student, so she jumped on the ball and enrolled in summer classes in June 2014.

“She always puts her mind to something and accomplishes it no matter what the circumstances are,” Libby said. “That is what makes her so successful.”

Youd has competed regularly in three events this season.  She has finished third on beam with 9.800 against Michigan State and 9.700 on floor against Ohio State. She also posted a season-best on vault with a 9.700 against LSU.

“She has transitioned very well into college gymnastics and in this type of competition,” Glover said. “She always has the mentality of ‘we’ in her thoughts and actions on the team.”

Libby has seen Youd’s confidence progress during the first month of the season, and she has shown a steadfast demeanor in competitions.

“She never puts herself first,” Libby said. “You can see that in practice — she cares deeply for her teammates, coaches, and anybody who works with her. She is always willing to do whatever it takes to put the team ahead. It’s rare to find that in a young woman; we’re lucky.”

Follow @Alex_Griffin2 on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa women’s gymnastics team.

In today's issue:

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.