Madison Tomlin finds inner strength through sports

By Sara Hursey

She carefully arranges herself into the corner of the bright red mat, scanning the room. She mouths the counts as each beat in the music hits. She runs through the movements in her head, one step at a time. Finally, she lets go, breathes into the moment, and launches herself off the ground for a tumbling pass.

Sophomore Madison Tomlin has spent nearly her whole life in the gymnastics world. Now, she’s a varsity cheerleader, in only her first year of the sport.

Madison Tomlin was a gymnast since the age of three, progressing from tot classes to level nine. Throughout her time in the sport, Tomlin questioned if gymnastics was what she really wanted to do, but in 6th grade, she progressed at a fast rate and decided to stick with it through the ups and downs, and the mental challenges it presented.

“The hardest part of gymnastics was constantly being put down not even just by coaches, but by myself, and feeling like I wasn’t improving at all and no matter how much effort I put in. I wasn’t getting the skill I wanted or the outcome I wanted,” Tomlin said.

At the end of her freshman year, Madison competed at Level 9 Regionals. However, she was just short of qualifying to Nationals, which sparked a realization.

“That night I was like ‘Mom, I’m going to be a cheerleader.’ I have decided, I’ve looked into it. I know that they are having tryouts this week, but I just have to call Mrs. Fowler. I just need to go,” Tomlin said.

To prepare, Tomlin attended open gym sessions and learned cheer technique from YouTube videos. Her hardwork and determination paid off when she landed a spot on the varsity team. Not long after the season started, she learned that she loved the atmosphere of cheer. The coach gets the team interacting, smiling, and enjoying themselves which brightens Tomlin’s mood. 

Teamwork is a major difference between gymnastics and cheer. In gymnastics, Madison competed for herself. As a cheerleader, Tomlin competes for something bigger than herself. 

“Going from gymnastics, you are alone. You don’t have to worry about other people. Yes, you want them to do good. But ultimately it is you on your own. But, cheer, if one person doesn’t do their best, we all have to go in and help them. Which is honestly one of my favorite part, even though it is the toughest: just having a team that is always going to be there to support you,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin has found her spot on the team as a backspot, and a motivator to those around her. She has a goal of making it to state with the team, and to continue with the team next year.

During practice, Tomlin has a calm focus, and always challenges herself and her team to get better each turn.

Gymnastics taught Tomlin that she can do anything she sets her mind to, and that valuable lesson helps her to be the teammate and cheerleader she has become.

Sports have surrounded Tomlin’s life, and she attributes the person she is today to them.

“I don’t think I would be anywhere near the person I am today without sports,” Tomlin said. “Because it’s just taught me how much I am capable of and how much I can persevere through.”