Oct. 11, 2012
Welcome to the Weekly Warmup! Each Thursday during the preseason, MGoBlue.com's Brad Rudner will sit down with each member of the University of Michigan women's gymnastics team to talk about the preseason training, last season's experience, and what lies ahead for the 2013 season.
This week's edition of the Weekly Warmup features freshman Austin Sheppard (Dallas, Texas/Plano East).
Brad: What made Michigan so attractive for you?
Austin: I absolutely fell in love with the school when I made my recruiting visit. Michigan's reputation as a great academic school really set it apart for everyone else. Of course the gymnastics program was a big factor, as well. It's one of the most successful programs in the country. I felt I could make the team better.
Brad: What have these first few weeks of college life been for you?
Austin: They've been pretty good. There's definitely a difference between high school and college. I was here over the summer, so I got to experience it a little more and a little earlier. The school work is more challenging and the gym hours are a lot different, but I think I've adjusted well. I love it so far.
Brad: And what about practice? Most gymnasts say the biggest change between club and college gymnastics is the team aspect. Would you agree?
Austin: I do. In club gymnastics, I think it's more about yourself, because you are competing by yourself. Yes, you're on a team in club, but it's more about how you do as a person, not a team. College gymnastics is different in that it's not about you. The focus isn't just on one specific person anymore. It's on the whole team and helping the team do the best we possibly can in every competition.
Brad: A lot of the fans out there don't know much about you or the other two members of the freshman class. What can they expect to see out of you this season?
Austin: Honestly, I just want to contribute in any way I can. I've had some difficulty with injuries going back to my senior year of high school, and I'm in the process of getting back to 100 percent. Whether I am on one event or all four, I hope I can show the fans that I'm doing whatever I can to make this team better.
Brad: You're undoubtedly very familiar with what happened last season. Knowing that this season will be a new and different experience, what are some expectations that you've set for yourself?
Austin: I want to be healthy throughout the whole season. I want to help the team as much as possible because I want us to be strong as a team. We could do great things this year. Last year was a bit of a struggle, but when you combine the newcomers we have with the ones we're bringing back, it makes us that much stronger. I feel like this year is going to be a really good year for us.