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Nicole Medvitz's Legacy at Penn State

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By Anita Nham, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was a decision between dance and gymnastics for senior Nicole Medvitz. 

At the age of six, she had to make a choice that would shape her future. But 15 years later, she doesn't regret her decision at all.

"I started [gymnastics] when I was about four years old, just taking regular classes," senior Medvitz said. "Then, when I was six, I was asked to join pre-team, and it just started from there. I remember the day that I got asked to join pre-team because I had to choose between dance and gymnastics. I choose gymnastics and I'm really glad that I did."

Medvitz's high school gymnastics career was nothing short of prolific. She won three straight Junior Olympic National Championships on the balance beam in 2011, 2012 and 2013, won the New Jersey State Championship in the all-around in 2011 and 2012, and was named the 2010-11 New Jersey Gymnast of the Year.

When she was looking at colleges where she could continue to develop her high-level gymnastics skills, she knew that Penn State was the exact place she was looking for.

"I chose Penn State because when I visited, I just loved the atmosphere, the campus, and the amount of Penn State pride everyone has here," Medvitz said. "I could really tell that it was an amazing school and I love the team. I chose it my junior year after looking at a bunch of different colleges, mostly Big Ten colleges, and a couple of other ones. It just felt like the school that fit me the most and the combination of athletics and academics was perfect." 

Medvitz's time at Penn State was been one for the record books and after every single season, she only continues to get better.

During her freshman year, Medvitz competed in all 14 of the team's meets, including the NCAA Regional Championships and at the NCAA Championships. During the Big Ten Championships, she notched her career-best of 9.850 on uneven bars. 

Throughout sophomore year, Medvitz continued to contribute solid routines on the uneven bars and balance beam, but during her junior year, she took her performances to a whole new level. On March 12, 2016, at the Big Five Qualifier, Medvitz earned a score of 9.975 on the balance beam, which is tied for the fifth-highest score in program history. 

"I always say to her, 'You have ice in your veins,' because it doesn't matter who she comes after, what the circumstance is, she just attacks her routines," interim co-head coach Kera Molinaro said. "She also has the flexibility aspect and the unique beam skills, so that separates her from a lot of other people." 

In her final season, Medvitz has continued to perform at the highest level. She has won seven balance beam titles this season, including five in Big Ten matchups. 

"She has grown a lot," co-head coach Molinaro said. "She has blossomed into such a confident gymnast. She's always been an awesome beam worker, but this year, she's just on a new level where she just smiles before her beam routine, and I know she's going to go up and hit it how she does in practice every day." 

For Medvitz, there is nothing better than getting on the beam and performing a great routine.

"[Getting off the beam], it's just the feeling of excitement," Medvitz said. "The ultimate excitement you could possibly get." 

The balance beam may be the most challenging event for some gymnasts with its mere width of four inches, nonetheless Medvitz never stumbles when she's up there.

"It's imperative actually [to have a good anchor]," Molinaro said. "You need a beam anchor that you know can handle any situation and someone that can just close out the event for you regardless of what happened in front of her. She's been a rock for us all year." 

With the NCAA Regionals and Championships approaching, Medvitz's season is coming to an end, but sports will always be a part of her life.

"I'm hoping to work in the sports industry because sports is my passion and something I really love," Medvitz said. 

The Paramus, NJ native is planning to use the experience that she gained at her summer internship with Nike to pursue her dream. 

"That was a ton of fun," Medvitz said. "I really love the company and I learned so much about what it takes to work in such a large industry. Everyone there really loves sports, too. I was also able to explore Oregon a lot, so that was very different from the East Coast, but it was a lot of fun."

Even with only a few more competitions left, Medvitz is hoping to use her time to be the best teammate and leader she can possibly be.

"She's really come out of her shell the last two years," Molinaro said. "She gives her teammates really good advice and she speaks up a lot. She's always happy, has a great attitude, and you can count on her to bring excitement in the gym. She's just an even keel; she doesn't get super high or super low. She is a solid, consistent individual." 

The most important lesson Medvitz has for any gymnast is to "enjoy every moment," and that is exactly what she will be doing for the rest of the season. 

"I'm just really glad that I get to represent such a great school and I just have so much pride for this school," Medvitz said. "Being able to leave a legacy is really something that means a lot to me, and I'm hoping that we pave the way for the future so that Penn State gymnastics continues to get better."

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