Sports

Despite injuries, South gymnast Kylie Mazza makes last competition

Two concussions, a sprained ankle and an injured elbow.

Despite that, senior gymnast Kylie Mazza was able to compete in her last meet on Saturday after missing about half of them in her four years at Sheboygan South.

“I was definitely frustrated,” she said. “I didn’t know why I kept getting hurt.”

And coach Kristen Buschke was running out of encouraging things to say.
“Every year, it was just like, ‘oh, it’s just freshman year,’ or ‘it’s just sophomore year, you have two more years,’” she said. “But then she just kept getting hurt and it wasn’t even any big injury. She didn’t break anything, she would get hurt on a skill she was doing and get super frustrated because she couldn’t compete and contribute to the team.”
The concussions and hurt ankle the previous years were one thing, but the elbow injury that happened this season was before the first meet was even held.

In November, Mazza was at practice when she slipped on the high bars and went backward.

“She landed kind of face-down on the ground with her arms above her head,” Buschke said. “I didn’t really think anything of it. It was just a regular kind of fall. We fall a lot in gymnastics.

“But she said her elbow really hurt.”

Mazza thought she would be fine, however, and that she just bruised something.

But after a trip to the emergency room, visits with trainers and then an MRI, she thought she was done for the season.

“I was really upset and sad because it was my last year,” she said.

But Mazza, who started gymnastics when she was 3 or 4 years old in Mommy and Me classes, was cleared to return for the final three meets and wore a brace on her arm because it still hurts.

After competing in two duals, Mazza participated in the Eastern Valley Conference Championships on Feb. 15 and finished seventh on the floor and ninth in vaulting.

“It was awesome,” Mazza said. “I never thought that was going to happen. Coming back meant I’m able to perform and feel all those emotions again.”
Which is why the sectional meet on Saturday will be tough for both Mazza and her coach.

Buschke, a gymnast who competed at UW-La Crosse, started as an assistant at the Sheboygan co-op when Mazza was a freshman.

“I just connected with her a lot,” said Buschke, who has been the head coach the last two years. “She’s a really good teammate.

“She’s quiet, but she’s always making sure everyone’s confident and she’s just very encouraging.”

It’s just part of the reason Mazza was a captain this season, which ended with her performing instead of watching from the bench.

“I think it will be very emotional and fun, all at the same time,” she said.

“I’ll be very proud I pushed through with my arm injury.”

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