Let’s get this new season started with our first 20 Questions athlete Savannah Kokaly. Savannah, who will be attending Cornell University in the fall, comes from a sports family both her parents are coaches (volleyball & softball) and her sisters are heavily involved in sports as well. As a youngster Savannah split her time between, the family sport, softball and, her sport, gymnastics. After success in softball Savannah ultimately chose to shift all of her focus to Gymnastics with hopes of earning a scholarship. I have known Savannah for quite sometime now, since she was a level 5, I have really seen this athlete grow up. I remember when Savannah was a Level 6 she could not land a flyaway for the life of her, she literally would go up and come down usually to her back on the mat. She had so much height and swing and she was so tiny she just over rotated. I remember when I first saw her actually land a dismount I was so excited for her and now she is sticking doubles flyways likes its nothing. However, I have always loved watching Savannah on the Floor Exercise from her very first optional floor routine to her current one, Savannah has always shown so much personality and performance in her routines! She usually goes for upbeat, big band music which fits perfectly with her style and personality. I cannot wait to see what she chooses in college, I am definitely waiting in anticipation for that routine in the fall. So, with that being said, let’s get to know Savannah a little better as she heads into her final season with Bay Valley Academy and Region 5 before she trades in BVA’s pink & lime green for Cornells Red & Black.
How did you get into Gymnastics? How old were you? I started gymnastics when I was two years old. My mom signed me up for tumble class because my younger sister was just born and she wanted me to get my energy out.
What is your favorite event? My favorite event is definitely bars. I love the feeling of swinging and the excitement I get after hitting a routine.
What is your favorite skill to train/compete? What is your dream skill? My favorite skill I do is my new vault that I learned this year. I do a yurchenko half on half off pike. My dream skill is a flip flop layout layout on beam.
What is your favorite part of Gymnastics? My favorite part of gymnastics is my teammates. They’ve grown to be more than teammates and I know they will always have my back no matter what.
What is your biggest accomplishment in Gymnastics so far? My biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far would have to be singing my National Letter of Intent to Cornell University. It has always been a dream of mine to be a collegiate gymnast and it felt so amazing signing the piece of paper.
What is your most embarrassing meet or training moment? I have had a lot of embarrassing moments at meets, but my most embarrassing moment would have to be at the Sand Dollar Invitational. I hit everything in warm-ups and fell on my mount right as my routine started.
What is something you have learned in Gymnastics that you will take with you once you have left the sport? I have learned countless things in gymnastics. But the most important thing I have learned is to work as hard as I can everyday. Especially this past year as there were many uncertainties of when we would be allowed to practice again.
What are you most looking forward to in your senior year of Gymnastics & High School? This year I am most looking forward to competing my last season with my teammates and coaches. I’m also looking forward to the thrill you feel after hitting an amazing routine. School wise, I am really looking forward to prom because we weren’t able to have one last year.
What college will you be attending in the fall? Why did you choose this school? What are you most looking forward to about college & college Gymnastics? In the fall I will be attending Cornell University. I chose Cornell because of their amazing academics and their coaches. The coaches were always very nice to me and made me feel like Cornell was home even before I committed. I am really looking forward to competing with their team. Last year while watching them compete, their entire team was always engaged in one another and I am excited to join such a tight knit team.
What sets your team apart from the rest? One thing that would have to set my team apart from other teams is how close we are. My entire team thrives off of each other and we love to see each other succeed.
What is your role on your Level 10 team & in your gym in general? Throughout my years at Bay Valley, we have always had great leaders in our gym. As I’ve gotten older I am now looked up to as a leader in my gym. As a team leader, I always cheer for everyone and am someone to talk to if anyone ever needs to talk about anything.
What is your most memorable gymnastics moment? My most memorable gymnastics moment was qualifying for Level 9 Easterns. I remember I had a great meet and I sat in the chair waiting for the top 7 girls to be called. When I heard my name called, I felt that all my hard work had finally paid off.
What is your goal for this season? My goal for this season is to compete how I train and not let any nerves get to me. As a senior, I want to make my last year competing JO the best year.
How would you explain 2020 to your future children/grandchildren? I would explain 2020 to my future children as a year that made me appreciate everything in my life. This year was filled with many ups and downs but as a whole I learned to cherish all the little things in life, because at a blink of an eye everything can be taken away.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you have received from your coaches? The most valuable advice a coach has given me would have to be from my coach, Miss Nanci. She always tells me not to get too ahead of myself and stay in the moment.
Do you have a nickname? If so, is there a story behind it? I have a couple nicknames but my teammates call me either Vannah or V.
If you could a super power what would it be? Why? If I could have any superpower I would choose to read minds. I think it would be fun to be able to know what other people are thinking.
What degree will you be pursuing in college? In college, I plan on majoring in government and will then go on to law school.
Bonus Questions: Tell me something interesting about yourself……One interesting thing about myself is that when I was 12 years old my softball team won the Michigan State Little League Championship. When we were there, the state hosted competitions for the fastest runner, longest hitter, etc. and I was the fastest 12u runner in the state for softball!
Fun Fact: Savannah & her boyfriend were the 2020 Homecoming King & Queen at Garber High School in Essexville, Michigan