Student athlete profile

Hazel Hamelka

Clarendon Hills

When did you first start competing in gymnastics?

I started doing gymnastics at the age of 2, but I didn't start competing until I was 10.

What is your favorite event?

That's a tough question. I'd probably say vault because I'm the best at it.

What is your least favorite event?

Probably beam, only because I'm a big worrier and I think sometimes it's kind of hard to be positive, especially if you fall, because it's pretty easy to fall off a beam.

How have you improved since your freshman year?

I've really been working on my attitude the past couple of years, because that is the one thing that kind of drags me down personally. I have improved skill-wise a ton.

What is your goal for the season?

Last year I got pretty close to making it to state, so that's kind of been my goal since freshman year, to make it to state. I do just want to have a more fun and positive season regardless of how I do overall. I want to make the most of it before it ends.

What is the best advice you've gotten from a coach?

To stop worrying. They always tell me to just take a breath and take one step at a time.

How would your teammates describe you?

Very motivated and hard-working. I'm always the first one to get onto the equipment and try and work the most. I also like to mess around a lot, too.

What is your Christmas wish this year?

To have my back healed and be injury-free this year. It hurts every year from overuse. This year it's been a lot worse. I'm giving it time right now, and I'm not competing in all four events like I always do.

What are your plans for next year?

I got accepted into Grand Valley State University. They do have a club gymnastics team, so I'm possibly thinking about doing that and maybe even talking to the diving coach there, because I also do diving.

Why does coach Kim Estoque like having Hamelka on the team?

Hazel works hard and wants to do well both for herself and her teammates. She works hard on the off-season to increase her skills and knows the season is the time to refine those skills.

- profile by Pamela Lannom, photo by

Jim Slonoff

Author Bio

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean