Erica Taga and the rest of the Broomfield gymnastics family thought that after Sarah Holbrook won her state title on the balance beam in November that it marked the end of her prep career.
Her surgery, which was scheduled for Dec. 2 to help alleviate the pain in her lower back by a genetic disorder call Bertolotti’s Syndrome, was likely to end her high school career.
“I thought about it a lot and I thought about my whole gymnastics career and I just couldn’t not finish out my senior year,” Holbrook said. “I owed it to myself.”
And Holbrook felt as though she owed it to her Broomfield teammates to give it one last shot to take the Eagles back to the top of the team mountain.
“I said to her I know this year was maybe not what you had hoped for coming off a second place all-around finish, but you won state on beam. And she looked at me and said ‘But we didn’t win a team championship, and that is what I want,'” said Taga, whose team has finished as a state runner-up each of the last two seasons by the slimmest of margins.
“That is so awesome to hear as a coach, that she wants to fight for the team. It’s not about her individual glory, it’s about the team. How do you not love a kid like that, that just wants to give you everything.”
But just like everyone else, Taga was stunned by the decision.
“I was surprised to say the least, but it shows me what a good competitor she is and what and amazing teammate. And that is what it really comes down to, she didn’t feel like she was done,” she said.
Holbrook was a state champion in November on arguably the toughest of the four events, the balance beam. In 2015 she would love nothing more than to get back to all four events, but it will take learning how to pace her body and knowing when to stop.
“I’m not harming myself anymore, it is basically just the pain level I can tolerate,” said Holbrook, whose teammate Kailey Licata also won a state title this past season on the floor. “It’s learning how many numbers I can do. I used to be able to do as many as everybody else, but I kind of have to learn that when it starts to hurts really bad I have to stop and I can’t keep going.”
Holbrook will compete through the spring and summer club season as well as the high school season next fall before she schedules the surgery for the same time next year.
“She did a lot of soul searching, and I don’t want to speak for her, but we met for a couple of hours and talked about it and the realization hit that even though the doctors were saying that she would be able to go back to gymnastics after the surgery, she realized the reality of the timing was it wasn’t going to be for her senior season,” Taga said. “There was just no way to make that nine month recovery time to get back her senior year.”
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