Friday January 24, 2014Claire Boyce- A new place to call home
By Jimena Panduro, UF Communications
Becoming a new member of a team can be exhilarating and humbling to say the least. It can also be quite intimidating.
Freshman gymnast Claire Boyce is not only joining the NCAA defending national champions this season, but with Ashanťe Dickerson, Marissa King, Randy Stageberg and Dali Lemezan all completing their eligibility, there are some big roles to fill.
Fortunately, the challenge is nothing this Missouri-born, Texas raised student-athlete hasnít seen before and in fact, itís one she absolutely is amazed and more importantly, grateful to be a part of.
ďItís a huge honor to come into a team thatís already this good and already so strong. You just want to help out in whichever way you can. The girls on the team have made it all so easy, theyíve been really awesome. I have loved every second of it,Ē Boyce said.
This season, there is only one other person joining Boyce as a newcomer on the team: Silvia Colussi-Pelaez.
For Boyce, having one other person to share all these new experiences coming her way has been not only helpful but also calming and encouraging.
ďItís a huge campus; there are so many new things that every single thing we do is new. We stick together most of the time and we also live together. Itís been really nice having another person that is in the same boat because that allows you to talk about anything,Ē Boyce said.
Aside from relying on her fellow freshman, Boyce has 11 other gymnasts who she can count on no matter what. Itís difficult to not catch the smile that flashes through her face with any mention of her teammates.
ďI came to Florida because I love the team atmosphere; itís a family here. No other team is as close as we are. Everybody has each otherís backs all the time and they are so helpful. We would do anything for each other. Itís a close-knit team and thatís what I wanted to be a part of,Ē Boyce said.
After being on the road for the first two weeks of competition, the 2014 Gator gymnastics team opens the home season this evening with the Georgia Bulldogs.
Tonight will be another new experience for Boyce as she will run through the Gator tunnel and meet the Florida fans.
ďIím so excited. Iíve never even seen a home meet but from what they tell me, it sounds like so much fun,Ē she said.
From the bleachers, one thing will be loud and clear: welcome to the Gator Nation, Claire Boyce.