Cherrey Stays Positive Despite Injury
After a season-ending ankle injury, sophomore Gracie Cherrey has embraced a supportive role on the team.
Feb. 17, 2017

By: Shannon Hamilton, UGA Sports Communications Student Assistant

Gracie Cherrey, a sophomore out of Woodbury, Minnesota, hasn’t had the gymnastics career here at UGA that she anticipated. In her first two seasons, Cherrey has struggled with an ankle injury that ultimately led to her being unable to compete during the 2017 season. Even though she has struggled with these injuries for the past two years, this Gymdog is far from down and out.

“In the fall of my freshman year (2016), I knew my ankle had some work that needed to be done so I competed only bars during my first season,” Cherrey recalled. “Four days after the season ended I had surgery with the expectation that I would be able to make a full return to gymnastics in the fall.”

Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned and Cherrey had a few more setbacks this past fall. While she continued training for competition, she was still limited in what she could do.

“We decided, myself and the coaching staff, that I would remain training bars because it has the least impact and I got to choose one other event to train for the season,” she said.

The event she chose to train was floor, even though it had a lot of impact on her ankle.

“It made my heart so happy because I haven’t had the opportunity to train floor or vault at all since I’ve been here,” she said with a smile.

At the conclusion of the semester, Cherrey thought her floor skills and performance were ready to be in the line up and she was looking forward to the chance to compete. However, when she went home for Christmas break, something went wrong on one of her tumbling passes and she knew something didn’t feel quite right. After coming back to school and visiting with doctors, she received the news that her season was over and she would require surgery.

Even though she was frustrated and disappointed to be sidelined, she knew she had to make the most of it.

“I have transferred my role to be the biggest support system I can for my team,” she said. “It hasn’t been easy by any means because I would do anything I could to be back out there, especially on the events I haven’t gotten the opportunity to train since being here at UGA. But at the end of the day, these girls are my sisters, they are my family, and seeing them be successful makes me incredibly happy,” says Gracie.


 

 

In the face of these setbacks, it can be easy to get discouraged. Cherrey credits an amazing support system around her for helping her to stay positive.

“If it weren’t for friends and family I don’t know where I would be right now,” she said. “My teammates are always here for me, sending me sweet texts and words of encouragement, and they just know how hard it is to be sidelined so they do whatever they can to ease that pain for me. The constant love and support means the absolute world to me.”

Through the pain and frustration, Cherrey tries to find the positive aspects of her situation to focus on.

“It has really made me count my blessing because I am so fortunate to be otherwise healthy and have so many things going for me and so many people who love and support me,” Cherrey acknowledged.

She knows what it means to be a Gymdog and how much this sport means at the University of Georgia.

She adds, “Being a part of a legacy like the Gymdogs is every little girl’s dream. And even though I’m not living it out yet the way I had imagined, which at times breaks my heart and I’m not going to lie there have been so many tears and hard days, I just try to take a step back and count my blessings.”

Over the next few months as Cherrey undergoes surgery and begins rehab, while simultaneously the Gymdogs take on some challenging competition, she has one focus in mind – staying positive and supporting her teammates.

“I know that the minute I have my surgery I will be back to square one, so when I am scooting around campus and struggling with that, I am just going to try to keep my head up and see the light at the end of the tunnel and just be the best teammate and best person that I can be.”

With the support of the Bulldog community, the Gymdogs, friends, and family, Cherrey will continue to make strides toward her recovery.

The Gymdogs participate in the Mardi Gras Invitational Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in St. Charles, Missouri against Oklahoma, LSU and Mizzou.

 

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