By Owen Gotimer
South Riding (December 14, 2015) — Freedom High School senior Mikayla Robinson has signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her gymnastics career at the University of North Carolina starting in the 2016-2017 school year.
“I picked UNC because it has the perfect balance of academics and athletics. I love the coaches, and I felt like I was able to connect with all of the girls,” the 5-foot-3 Robinson said. “There’s such an amazing support system for all of the student athletes, so I know that I will be successful there. As soon as I stepped on campus, I knew that this was the college I wanted to attend.”
Signing her National Letter of Intent almost two years after verbally committing to UNC, Robinson noted a lack of scholarships at the Division I level in gymnastics meant she was relieved to receive one.
“It’s definitely a relief to know where I am going to college and not have to go through the process of applying to several colleges as most seniors do. It’s great to know that all of my time and hard work paid off,” Robinson said. “There are about 60 colleges with DI women’s gymnastics, and each one has an average of three scholarships per year. More than anything, being committed to UNC motivates me to continue to be the best I can be, for myself and the team. It makes me want to continue to put in the work I need at the gym so that I can help the team as much as possible when I get to UNC.”
At UNC, Robinson will join a Division I Tarheels program led by 34th-year head coach Derek Galvin. In 2015, Galvin helped UNC to a fifth place finish at the East Atlantic Gymnastics League championships.
“I feel that I will mostly add help to the team on vault and floor,” said Robinson who will train in all of events for the Tarheels. “I am definitely more of a power gymnast, and vault and floor have been my favorite events for as long as I can remember. I feel that I’ll be able to bring in big scores on these events.”
Robinson competed with her sister and current Cal gymnast Arianna on the Freedom Eagles gymnastics team in 2013-2014 before focusing solely on training with her club. Arianna – along with their older brother Chris – helped motivate Robinson to start and stick with gymnastics since the age of four.
“Chris took classes at a local gym when he was younger, and my sister and I would often sit in on the classes and watch him,” Robinson said. “My sister started doing gymnastics after my brother, and it wasn’t long before I followed suit. The rest is sort of history.”
For the past decade-and-a-half, Robinson noted she has battled ups and downs, but the whole adventure has been worth it.
“I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had for the world. The adrenaline rush I get when competing is incomparable to anything,” Robinson said. “Being able to look back on how far I’ve come both as an athlete and a person makes all the sacrifices that I have made for this sport completely worth it. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me as I become a collegiate athlete.”