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UAA gymnastics flips into a new chapter

UAA gymnastics.
UAA gymnastics.(Austin Sjong)
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 8:53 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The University of Alaska Anchorage gymnastics program was reinstated in June, but now they have a new fundraising goal to meet by June 30, 2022.

The news of the reinstatement was huge and it showed just how much work the staff and athletes put into saving their program. However, instead of taking a victory lap, Head Coach Marie-Sophie Boggasch says that the fundraising is far from done.

“It doesn’t change the fact that we still have a second fundraising deadline to meet on June 30, 2022, so right now we are kind of right back into the grind of things to make sure we are going to be OK forever,” Boggash said.

The program had to raise $444,000 in cash by June 2021 and now they have to raise another total of $440,000 by June 2022. Boggash said they have already raised a substantial amount of money, but need around $300,000 more by the 2022 deadline.

The team hopes that this round of fundraising will be easier with the help of in-person events. They are also going to continue with their leotard sales, t-shirt sales, and virtual competitions. Boggash also said they are working on some bigger plans to hopefully create some sustainability throughout the program, so they don’t have to deal with raising money every other year.

“We are still in the beginning stages of implementing some of these ideas because they are long term, they are not going to be implemented today and just bring in 300,000 dollars by tomorrow,” she said.

The fundraising situation along with the pandemic is making it tough to recruit as well. Despite those challenges though, the team is welcoming in three new faces. Only one member of the gymnastics team decided to transfer during all of the events that took place last year. All of the events of the last year brought the team together and also taught some unexpected lessons.

“It was a very challenging time for everyone on the team but it definitely pushed all of us out of our comfort zone,” UAA gymnastics graduate Lousia-Marie Knapp said. ”There are people on the team that don’t like talking on the phone or don’t like reaching out to ask for help, and we were all forced to do that if we wanted to save the program.”

In the end, Boggash said that every single dollar counted to making their first fundraising goal. She said that the average donation was under $500, and if they could get most of the people who donated that amount of money to do so again, they would be in the clear for years to come.

The gymnastics season starts up in January and the team’s first home meet is scheduled to take place on Jan. 21, 2022 in the Alaska Airlines Center.

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