Katya Souchitski: student, athlete, rhythmic gymnast

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Brenda Mehdian, staff writer

As sophomore Katya Souchitski prepared herself to perform her final routine of the competition, she could could feel the adrenaline pumping through her whole body and her hands begin to sweat.

“You are just practicing, relax,” she told herself as she stepped onto the mat.

Rhythmic gymnastics is a form of gymnastics emphasizing dance like rhythmic routines. The typical equipment of the sport includes ropes, balls, clubs, ribbons and hoops.

Originally, Souchitski was enrolled in ballet classes; however, her mother was not happy with her teacher’s techniques. When Souchitski was about five, her mother moved her into the sport of rhythmic gymnastics.

“I did not like that her teacher was putting so much attention into Katya,” mother Valeria Souchitski said.

Although impartial to the decision at the time, Souchitski is now grateful for being switched into rhythmic gymnastics because the sport “completes her.”

Souchitski now trains at the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics and is coached by Olga Putsillo.

Since joining the sport, Souchitski has competed in numerous competitions such as Regionals in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Junior Olympics and many more. According to Souchitski, she is most proud of her most recent performance in Regionals in which she placed first in level seven out of 10 and made the all-star team. Here, she was able to qualify for Junior Olympics, although she did not place.

In order to prepare for her competitions, Souchitski had to endure a rigorous practice schedule. She practices for two and a half hours Mondays through Saturdays in which she not only rehearses her routines, but also runs, practices her jumps and works with the apparatus. In addition, she has private lessons and individual running practice on Sundays.

“Even though practice is hard I always push through because I know that in the end the hard work will pay off,” Souchitski said. “Although it might stress me out at the time, the work I put in leaves me with rewarding results. Whenever I am tired and want to give up I just think about the competition.”

Balancing any sport with school can be difficult, but Souchitski was able to come to an agreement with the school to help this process. She is on a physical education contract which allows her to get out of class earlier. This gives her the chance to finish most of her school work before practice then come home and finish studying and reviewing.

According to Souchitski, her favorite part of the sport is that she is able to express herself through her dance and routines, and believes that her strength in the sport is her ability to work with the apparatus.

Souchistki is inspired by family member Luubov Cherkashena, a two-time Olympic Champion.

“She is an amazing rhythmic gymnast and never gave up. Although she retired from the sport, she is now a coach in Russia or Ukraine,” Souchitski said.

Souchitski hopes that one day she will be able to make the national team; however she also has a back up plan to go to dentistry school after attending college.

Right now Souchistki is at level seven and she aims to make it to level 10. Once she accomplishes this goal, she will set another, and so on.

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