Thursday February 28, 2013Randy Stageberg: Making Most of Senior Year
By Eden Otero, UF Communications
Randy Stageberg is having the season that most senior college gymnasts dream of. Meet after meet, Stageberg provides consistent performances which help the Gators to rank among the nation’s top teams.
Elly may be a bulldog, but she’s a Gator. Randy Stageberg makes sure Elly shows her Gator spirit for football games by sporting Orange & Blue attire.
Stageberg is unlike most gymnasts because like teammates Ashanée Dickerson, Marissa King and Dali Lemezan, she is not only competing and going to classes, but she’s also focusing on life after school since graduation is right around the corner. She says she is planning on going back to her hometown to help train at her old gym, Excalibur Gymnastics club and help her grandparents out.
“I have to volunteer 160 hours to finalize my degree, so I’m going to coach at my old gym back home this summer,” said Stageberg. “I’m excited about that because I love to coach.”
However, her plans to work at Excalibur are only summer long. After she completes her volunteer work she hopes to take an internship.
“After though, I think I’m going to get an internship with a computer software company that’s right around the corner from my grandparent’s house,” she said.
This season alone has been an adventure for Stageberg. In the last few weeks she’s been competing at her best. Just last Friday, she used a 9.875 to share her first collegiate balance beam event title with Dickerson. She equaled her collegiate beam best of 9.90 at Arkansas on Feb. 1. She also posted her collegiate-best for vault (9.825) and season-best for floor (9.875) in last Friday’s meet.
In addition to a strong season, Stageberg also enjoyed her preseason. For the first time since coming to UF, Stageberg was able to go home for Thanksgiving and spend it with her family. What was even more exciting about the holiday was bringing fellow senior King with her to meet her family and see where she grew up.
“Unfortunately the time was a little short, so I didn’t get to take her to the beach,” said Stageberg. “But we did get to sightsee and she got to see where I grew up and meet my grandparents. It was still a lot of fun.”
With holidays past and the majority of the season complete, Stageberg knows that the conclusion of her collegiate career is near. Even with an upcoming graduation, schoolwork and practices, Stageberg is still looking to improve her performance in competition and help her teammates out in the key championship phase of the season.
“It’s nice to try and set the tone and help the team build off of scores,” said Stageberg. “It’s exciting to contribute and to see everyone be able to step up and be aggressive.”
Though, with all the planning and practicing, Stageberg was likely to miss something. Unfortunately that something was her dog’s birthday.
Amidst all of the flurry of school and competition, she forgot that her English bulldog, Elly, turned a year old until her boyfriend texted her about it.
“He texted me and said, ‘tell Elly I said to have a happy belated birthday,’” said Stageberg. “I feel so guilty now. I’ll have to do something for her.”
Doing something for Elly includes giving her extra treats and more time not having to wear human clothing.
“She absolutely hates it when you put her in clothes,” said Stageberg. “When I take it off she runs after it and tries to tear it up, she’s funny about it.”
Elly is the perfect roommate though, because the two can share clothes. Despite her breed, Elly is a Gator fan and will wear the Orange & Blue when she needs to show her support.
“I don’t have actual dog clothes for her,” she said. “During football games I would just get a small shirt and put her in it and take picture of her and say ‘Elly’s ready for her first football game,’ or ‘watching the game,’ it’s always funny.”
Stageberg is enjoying these final few months with the team and the various experiences and challenges of life as a student-athlete. She looks forward to carrying over the life skills gymnastics and school has taught her to a career in the next stage in her life.