Bishop Dwenger’s Sophia Wright-Turflinger named News-Sentinel.com Gymnast of the Year
When the gymnastics season started in January, Bishop Dwenger senior Sophia Wright-Turflinger basically started the season by performing like a freshman. Competing against some of the state’s best gymnasts, she finished a disappointing 10th at the Becky Carter Classic.
It was just the double backflip kick in the leotard she needed.
“I was kind of disappointed with myself, and I worked my butt off after that,” she said. “I started coming in early and staying after practice putting in extra hours, and I came in Saturdays to work. I had been putting in the hours, but I kind of feel like I was going through the motions a little. I got kind of complacent.”
And then fellow senior teammates Elaine Cornewell and Jenna Farris suffered injuries that would plague them all season, meaning Wright-Turflinger had to step up her performances and her leadership. She came back to win the sectional all-around title and finish second in the regional, and that’s why Wright-Turflinger is being named the News-Sentinel.com Gymnast of the Year. Carroll sophomore McKinley Jones and Homestead junior Catherine Milne were also considered for the award.
Without Cornewell and Farris in the Saints’ lineup or at full strength, Bishop Dwenger’s goals changed from competing for the state title to competing for the chance to get to state.
“Once Elaine got hurt, it was a shock to everyone and the pressure was really on so I had to step up,” Wright-Turflinger said. “A lot of the freshmen and underclassmen had to step up, too. I wanted to get to state for her, and when she and Jenna were hurt I could see how much it hurt them not being able to help, and it just made me work so much harder.”
Bishop Dwenger freshman Mary Fean even told the senior she could see the fire had returned to Wright-Turflinger’s eyes and that her passion was back.
When Wright-Turflinger talked to her younger teammates, she was assertive and constructive, Bishop Dwenger coach Rose Nix said, and she also set a good example with her hard work.
“When somebody goes down and all of a sudden you are the lone senior left and you have to step up… she just told the kids that this is the way it is and they needed to get in gear,” Nix said. “She just told them we all needed to work a little harder.”
As Wright-Turflinger said, “I know the girls worked really, really hard and we all grew up hearing how Bishop Dwenger always does really well and goes to state every year. It was kind of a kick in the butt this year that we weren’t doing as well as we had in the past. It will be good for the girls coming back next year to realize they do need to work hard and they won’t be able to just rely on the reputation.”
Wright-Turflinger is heading to Arizona State next fall to study biomedical sciences with the goal of becoming a family doctor.
“I kind of stayed away from anything medical for a long time, but I finally realized it was best for me,” she said. “I want to help people, I wanted to work with children and have a connection with the people I was helping.”
McKinley Carroll, Carroll, sophomore
Elaine Cornewell, Bishop Dwenger, senior
Olivia Cronenwett, Homestead, senior
Jenna Farris, Bishop Dwenger, senior
Jill Hoffmann, Carroll, senior
Rachel Landstoffer, Bishop Dwenger, sophomore
Shiloh Miller, DeKalb, junior
Catherine Milne, Homestead, junior
Ella Smith, Carroll, sophomore
Ashelynn Steinke, Carroll, junior
Yana Weir, Homestead, junior
Sophia Wright-Turflinger, Bishop Dwenger, senior