Warriors gymnastics gains new head coach

Warriors gymnastics gains new head coach

Lucy LaValley, Sports Reporter

Warrior’s head gymnastics coach, Beckie Rolbiecki, has retired after 15 seasons.

The position is being passed onto Winona State University’s graduate and assistant coach, Aixa Evenson, who said she was “genuinely overjoyed” and “humbled” to have gotten the job. Coach Evenson was coached by Rolbiecki from the start of her gymnastic career up through her days as a Warrior.

Taking over Evenson’s assistant coaching position is Stephanie Geislinger, who was also coached by Rolbiecki as a Warrior.

Now with Geislinger as an assistant coach, Evenson said it is “much like a big family that is getting a reunion, only in a revamped way.”

Evenson said being coached by Rolbiecki has definitely influenced the way she coaches.

“When we were coaching together, we basically sound the same because I came up through her. It was just two of us like a broken record,” Evenson said.

Evenson said she will continue coaching the way Rolbiecki has always taught her but will change it up a bit.

“I really like how Beckie structures practice. I am going to switch up the order that we do it, but structurally, she always did a really good job at creating a competitive environment but also making it where we are weary of where the bodies are at,” Evenson said. “She also did a really good job in terms of team bonding, so a lot of my recommendations for the team and for our captains come from what she had originally put in place.” 

How will the team change now that that Evenson can call the shots on her own?

Evenson said she is looking forward to changing the team in terms of changing up the culture of the team.

“The gymnastics environment has been very stoic and pretty dictatorship when it comes to how things are run. I’m really looking forward to changing that culture up a little bit and I want to make it more of a communicative community,” Evenson said.  “I am excited to be a bit more cohesive in terms of getting their [the gymnasts] mental health and physical health on track.”

Senior gymnast, Hannah Matuszak said Evenson is very involved in terms of her athlete’s health.

“She holds mental health on the same level as physical health and will go above and beyond when anyone is struggling. She is so approachable and caring,” Matuszak said.

Practicing with coaches’ assistance will not happen until the week of Oct. 12; however, the gym has opened up to allow the gymnasts to begin captains practicing, allowing Evenson to get an idea of what the team will look like this season.

“A lot of them [gymnasts] have not been in the gym since March. With that being said, I do think they look pretty strong; I think they look as they should for being out for that long,” Evenson said. “For the most part I am really encouraged by what I am seeing, they are further along than what I would have originally thought coming back in.”

New addition to the Warrior Gymnastics team, freshman Quinn Burger, had nothing but good things to say about the new head coach.

“Evenson hasn’t coached us yet, but what I have seen from Zoom meetings and her recruiting me is that she’s open and willing to work with people. She believes in our abilities as gymnasts and wants to work with us to improve,” Burger said. “Evenson is very caring and wants us to succeed in and out of the gym. I think she is a great coach. She brings the fun energy we need in practice while still being able to coach and give corrections and keep us on track.”

The season has not been decided on yet due to COVID-19, but Evenson and the rest of the team hope to be able to compete this year.