Breanna Ho: Winona State’s All-Around Star


Carolyn Hauschild

Ho performing on the uneven bars at Saturday’s National Collegiate Gymnastics Association’s National Championship in Winona, MN.

Kailey Doeseckle, Sports Editor

In the Durham Region of Canada, just above Lake Ontario sits the beautiful town of Ajax, where Breanna Ho spent her adolescent years. Travelling across the region from her home in order to attend school, Ho spent much of her youth in the car, and with what little downtime she had, she began to pursue a hobby that was particularly influential later in life, gymnastics. 

It was at just two when Ho was enrolled in a Parent & Tot class with her mother that she began her life as a gymnast and by fourteen, she was practicing up to 30+ hours a week.  

“I definitely thought about quitting many times over the years, especially watching friends retire,” Ho said. “But my life without gymnastics was always impossible to imagine.”  

In high school, Ho would take part in the Eastern Canadian Championships and win gold in 2015, 2018 and 2019.  

And her skill only grew stronger as she continued to compete. 

After so much effort throughout her childhood, Ho’s passion followed her into the next step of her life as well. 

“My best friend, Cora Geiger was a gymnast here,” Ho said regarding her choice to enroll at Winona State University. “Between her and former head coach Beckie Rolbiecki, they convinced me after some time to visit.”  

From there, the atmosphere of Winona drew her in. While attending a D3 institution may not have been the most ideal, the expectation of an excellent education and a cozy environment with friendly faces to match got Ho hooked. 

As pleasant as the campus might be, participating in collegiate gymnastics is no small feat no matter the division. Therefore, Ho had to form a regiment that would work in her favor to put her in the best conditions to compete.  

Being a rather individual sport, Ho spends much of her time prior to competing alone to allow her mind to focus, using visualization and key words to concentrate on each event she will be participating in. Though, as soon as her routine is complete, Ho is back on the sidelines, cheering as loud as she can for the next gymnast.  

Though, it is not just the mind she must prepare.  

“Meet season in college gymnastics is tough, with about nine back-to-back weeks of competitions,” Ho said. “And, I am a senior doing all-around, so there’s a lot of stress on my body at all times.” 

The all-around is the category of gymnastics that includes all the events, and because of the immense strain on the body having to compete in several different rather grueling conditions, Ho has created a ritual that includes icing, rolling out her muscles, and stretching the night before to try to prepare her body as much as possible and limit injury.  

Gymnastics has proven itself to be a particularly taxing sport, but nonetheless, Ho has still learned a lot from her time on the team.  

From skills like resilience and determination, to the now grander feelings of passion and excitement, college gymnastics has expanded her enjoyment of the typically exhausting activity.  

“Switching to the team atmosphere in college can be almost jarring,” Ho said. “But I didn’t know it could be this fun and a lot of that is thanks to my teammates.” 

But it was this last weekend that all of Ho’s hard work seemed to fall into place. 

Having qualified for the 2023 National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) Championships, Ho is among just four girls that would represent Winona State in our very own gymnasium for the event.  

“It’s been such a great experience to have these four individuals here,” Head Coach Dr. Stephanie Geislinger said. “They are definitely top notch on our team, truly leaders in the events that they do.” 

After a tough journey between injuries, COVID-19 and the adjustment to a new coach, it began to feel as though her gymnastics career had plateaued, but grasping this new accomplishment had stoked the fire for Ho. 

Though, because Ho’s last Canadian National event did not have the results she had hoped for, being given a chance to redeem herself was as rewarding as it was daunting.  

“It felt like I’d been working my whole college career for this,” Ho said. “It really felt like a cap regardless of how I finish.”  

Ho would end up finishing in seventh place in the all-around, scoring 37.150 to lead the Warriors and earn All-American Honors.  

Now, as a fourth-year student preparing for graduation, Ho can look back fondly on her time as a Warrior and hope to leave good memories of herself behind.  

Of course, her contagiously positive attitude and encouraging personality is unlikely to go unnoticed, and more than likely to be missed.  

“I wanted to instill a confidence in them as a gymnast and as a person,” Ho said. “I hope every girl on this team knows their individual worth despite a single a bad day in the gym.” 

Having learned to believe in herself, Ho upheld the same expectation for the rest of her team and advocated for them all the same. It is because of her memorable leadership that her legacy will remain on each vault, bar and beam here at Winona State.