Perrysburg senior Macy Nordhaus practices on the balance beam under the watch of Michelle Nordhaus, her mother and coach. Macy qualfied for state in three events last year.
A running joke in the Nordhaus household is that you learn how to tumble before crawling or walking.
Well, that is somewhat the case for the Nordhauses Perrysburg s first family of gymnastics.
I could probably do a forward roll before I could walk, said Perrysburg senior Macy Nordhaus, a three-time state qualifier in gymnastics who is looking to become only the sixth gymnast in school history to qualify for state four times.
The first Yellow Jacket wasMichelle Tamlyn, a 1987 graduate, who is now Michelle Nordhaus, Macy s mother and Perrysburg coach.
Macy, even as an infant, has always been right at mom s side in the flipping, tumbling and twisting environment.
She s grown up in the gym, Michelle said. She s a good ol gym rat.
I was pregnant with her when I was coaching in the gym and she learned how to walk in the gym.
When I would go coach, I d pass her off to one of the moms and they would hold her and bounce her. This is what we do.
Michelle teaches first grade at Reynolds Elementary in Toledo. However, for nearly 20 years she s spent most of her evenings and weekends as a gymnastics coach.
This is her second year at Perrysburg. She s also a coach for the South YMCA.
Just like her mother, Macy has found gymnastics to be a way of life.
Perrysburg senior Macy Nordhaus is looking to qualify for the state meet for the fourth time. The first Yellow Jacket gymnast did that 21 years ago her mother, Michelle, who is also her coach.
I really don t know how to live life without gymnastics, Macy said. I can t remember a time when I wasn t in the gym at least once a week.
And just like her mother, Macy not only has found a deep appreciation for the sport, she s also found success in it.
She s reached the state meet every year since she was a freshman. The first time was in the uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercise and all-around. As a sophomore, it was in the beam, floor, vault and all-around. Last year she qualified in beam, floor and vault.
It s pretty much been my biggest goal to achieve in high school, said Macy, talking of qualifying for state four times. I ve been looking forward to high school gymnastics ever since I was little. I m a team captain this year and it would be definitely the biggest memory for me in high school.
Macy s individual success has coincided with team success. The Yellow Jackets began the week with a 10-2 record.
Perrysburg entered yesterday s NLL meet as defending champion. The Yellow Jackets are 5-0 in NLL dual meets.
The Yellow Jackets are also looking to make a fifth straight trip to the state in the team competition after placing 11th last year.
With five seniors who were contributors a year ago, Perrysburg was recognized as one of the top returning programs in northwest Ohio.
However, co-captain Taylor Kaufman, Jenny Berry, Corie Sanderson and Kim McGee all seniors have been slowed throughout the year with injuries, which has not allowed the Yellow Jackets to perform at full strength for a single competition. Berry has been lost for the season with a knee injury for the second year in a row.
I just wish this season I would have had all my seniors healthy, the Perrysburg coach said. It s just been injury after injury after injury this year.
Juniors Olivia Brezinski and Lizzy McMinn, sophomores Jessie Brown and Sam Parton and freshman Hannah Wheeless have stepped in to help create a successful season.
The only losses were against Napoleon and Findlay two teams that figure to contend at the district level. The top two teams at district qualify for state.
This year our goals have kind of changed [due to the injuries], Michelle said. This year they just want to make it [to state], whether it s finishing first or second [at district]. If we were healthy [the goal] would definitely be for first place.
Macy has been the Yellow Jackets most successful gymnast this season. She has finished first in the all-around competition in all but three meets.
She has been a model of consistency throughout the year, according to her mother.
She might not be first or second in everything, but she s a good gymnast on all four events, the elder Nordhaus said. Her consistency puts her up usually in the top three for the all-around because she s an all-around good gymnast.
Macy credits her mother s presence as coach with helping stay focused.
It s very special, very meaningful, said Macy. It s very nice to have someone in your family who knows your sport as well if not better than you do. To have that kind of support in the gym and outside of the gym is great.
The idea of coaching her daughter in high school is something Michelle had always thought about, but until the job actually became available a year ago it was something she didn t anticipate ever happening. At first, she was a little hesitant about applying for the job.
When it came down to coaching decisions I didn t want the other girls or the other parents think I was favoring her [because] the head coach is usually the one that makes the decisions for the team, Michelle said. I didn t want to have to deal with that. But I haven t had to deal with any of that. All the parents have known me and some of these girls I ve known since they were in kindergarten.
Macy plans to attend Kent State. She has not decided if she s going to continue competing in gymnastics.
Michelle intends to remain as coach although it was her daughter s involvement that has kept her in the gym.
One of the reasons why I stayed in coaching was because she loves it, Michelle said. I probably would have given up coaching a long time ago but once you get up in the higher levels you re in the gym four, five, six or seven days a week. If I wanted to see my daughter I had to be here with her, so I ve just kept on coaching.
It s been so cool. She knows I m going to be crying at the end of the season when she s gone.
Macy is determined that won t end until after the state tournament.
I realize this is probably my last chance [competing in gymnastics] Macy said. It s not like golf where you can do it for the rest of your life. This is probably going to be my last year doing this and I want to make the most of it. I want to go out with a bang.