Preparation is something that University of Utah freshman Sydney Soloski has done her entire life as a gymnast. She has prepared for meets and long grueling recoveries after surgery, and all of her time spent doing that paid off during the Red Rock’s first meet of the season. There was a last minute change and Soloski was put into the floor lineup.
“I think that for Syd she was kind of in a win-win situation,” said co-head coach Megan Marsden. “Where she was just allowed to go out there and do the best that she could and the expectation probably wasn’t quite as high because she hadn’t [had] that opportunity yet, and we didn’t have her in the lineup prior to that.”
Soloski, a native from Canada, spent four years as a member of the Canadian National team before joining Utah this past summer. For her, just getting to Utah was proof that all her hard work and dedication to the sport had paid off. Soloski has had multiple surgeries, most recently a knee surgery, but those setbacks never stopped her from not being ready to shine. In the team’s season opener against BYU, Soloski scored a 9.850 on her first ever collegiate floor routine.
“It was really exciting,” Soloski said. “I can’t think of a better moment in my gymnastics career up until [this past] Friday night. It was so incredible to be out there with my team and get to contribute. Being out on the Huntsman floor was more exciting than stress for me.”
Soloski didn’t have time to worry about the last minute lineup change. In fact, Marsden thinks it might have been helpful that she was unaware that would happen, so that she wouldn’t stress about it. The Red Rocks know the importance of being able to step up when needed, and Soloski was prepared.
Senior Tiffani Lewis had a similar experience to Soloski’s when she was a freshman and her teammate went down. Lewis said it all happened in the blink of an eye. Watching Soloski perform brought her back to that moment. Lewis was able to give her some words of wisdom before she took the floor, and she was impressed with what Soloski was able to do.
“It gave me the chills because it was just so incredible because she has worked so hard and she has put in the effort,” Lewis said. “Being able to see it all come together and her have that confidence in herself is really cool.”
Practicing day in and day out helped get Soloski ready for that unexpected moment when she was called on to perform in front of almost 15,000 fans inside the Huntsman Center.
“The moment right before I went and I could hear the crowd cheering even before I stepped on the floor,” Soloski said. “That was like the moment I knew I was going to seize this moment and have fun with it.”