Friday February 24, 2012Randy Stageberg Sets a Light Tone in the Gym
By Sarah Gibson, UF Communications
Randy Stageberg doesn’t just set the tone on beam for the Gators, she plays a role in making the atmosphere in the gym light and enjoyable every day at practice.
“I like to keep it lively and fun,” Stageberg said. “I think it helps everyone get through practice a little easier when you have a better outlook on it.”
She said with the stress of school and the season’s toll on their bodies, keeping practice fun and as stress-free as possible helps everyone get through it.
“It’s not just me though,” she said. “It’s definitely a combined effort.”
She said the team loves pulling pranks on the coaching staff. As of late, the Gator gymnasts have been hitting hard the retired leotard box in their locker room. Head coach Rhonda Faehn can never be quite sure what she’ll see at practice, as team members are outfitted in past team fashions that are often embellished with some personal accessories of the current Gators.
Pranking and joking around with each other has contributed to creating an environment different from Stageberg’s past seasons on the team.
“I think everyone has noticed it,” she said. “It’s been a completely different atmosphere as far as the coaches, the team and everyone getting along. It’s made training smooth and fun. Everything is just so enjoyable.”
Now a junior, Stageberg has grown into her own and become a consistent performer on beam and floor for the Gators. At the Gators’ awards banquet last April, she was honored with the most improved award on the team, which she attributes to building more confidence in herself.
“I’ve grown a lot mentally,” she said. “I’ve worked really hard on visualizing and not over thinking things but being a lot stronger mentally. It’s made probably the biggest difference in me.”
Each meet this season Stageberg has set the tone for the Gators on beam by performing first, a position she said can have a lot of pressure.
“Everyone wants to go out there and do the best they can, which is what we train for in practice,” she said. “You get in a place where you just do what you do in practice by staying calm and being confident on it because it does set the tone for the other gymnasts. I want them to be able to rely on me and know that I can go up and do what I need to do for them to feel a little bit more relaxed going up.”
As the beam lead-off in each of Florida’s seven meets this season, Stageberg has turned in a season-best 9.85 three times, just a fraction off her collegiate-best of 9.875. She’s also been a part of every Gator floor lineup in 2012 and set her collegiate-best of 9.90 in the Gators Link to Pink meet versus LSU.
Stageberg said the team is really supportive of one another, in and out of the gym. She said the fact that they are doing things together outside the gym, whether it’s going out to eat or spending time at each other’s apartments, has made a difference on their team dynamic.
“These are all little things that have transferred into the gym and made a much bigger difference as far as how we train and wanting to train to do the best for each other,” she said. “I think it is showing. We still have improvements that need to be made, but as far as where we are I think it is a perfect place for where we want to be.”
Stageberg knows how easy it can be to get stressed and overwhelmed with the season, but she chooses to take a positive approach during the tough times.
“When something gets hard in the gym you have to make a joke out of it because people around you will laugh, you will laugh and the coaches will relax,” she said. “Making a joke allows everyone to loosen up and it makes it a lot easier to train in that kind of atmosphere.”