February Perspective Student-Athlete of the Month: Katie Stewart

Salem senior Katie Stewart performs a back layout step out
Salem senior Katie Stewart performs a back layout step out
David Donoher

The three-sport phenom and Salem senior, Katie Stewart, over her four years at P-CEP, has been one of the top overall women’s athletes at The Park. With swim and dive in the fall, gymnastics in the winter and pole vault in the spring, Katie has been able to put herself among the best gymnasts at P-CEP.

With a state championship in pole vault under her belt, Stewart has been nominated the past two years for the Detroit Sports Awards in pole vault, an accolade that helped her to receive an offer from West Point for pole vault. The Perspective sat down with Stewart to talk about how she has maintained such success and her hope for the future.

Lucas Gentilia: What was winning a state championship like for you?

Katie Stewart: It was really fun. It’s always fun because you bring your teammates with you and stay in hotels; it’s a lot of team bonding. At regular track meets, it’s always so chaotic that you don’t get that same support while all the events are going at the same time. At states, it’s bigger and there’s more time so you get to watch everything, and it’s amazing to see everyone else out there with the amazing talent that they have.

Lucas Gentilia: Tell me about your favorite moment in your gymnastics career at Salem.

Katie Stewart: Honestly, it’s been the practices closest to regionals and states where the team does get smaller but the practices get more fun. We get to have a lot of fun at practice. We’re all just there encouraging each other. It’s a great environment to be in when everyone is confident and happy we made it this far.

Lucas Gentilia: What has the process of being recruited to West Point been like for you and your family?

Katie Stewart: I originally didn’t want to go to college, but athletics showed me that I do have the chance. It’s been really great having my family there. My older sister and mom were able to help me by taking me out to different colleges. It’s just been great having the support from my family.

Salem senior Katie Stewart looks to get a perfect ten during her beam performance (David Donoher)

Lucas Gentilia: Being that it’s your senior season, what goals have you set for yourself this gymnastic season?

Katie Stewart: I want to make it to both individual and team states [championships] and go as a team, Unfortunately, we are struggling a little bit this year with the loss of some seniors.

Lucas Gentilia: The past few seasons seemed like you had a great relationship with your sister in gymnastics and track. What was it like having your family that close on your team like that for you?

Katie Stewart: It was honestly part of the reason why I did excel as much as I did because she was there pushing me to do better. I don’t think I would have made it anywhere as close as I did for pole vault without her because I always have to beat her. I like bragging in her face. It was always amazing having her there. 

Lucas Gentilia: What can you say about the way your coaches have helped you along your career at Salem?

Katie Stewart: My coaches are amazing. They’re always understanding because I do multiple sports.  For track, my coaches understand that I’m not going to make it to the offseason practices because I’m at gymnastics. They’re just really understanding with how busy my schedule is.

Lucas Gentilia: Tell me about a time that you were nervous about a meet and how you overcame that.

Katie Stewart: I always listen to music for everything. It helps me clear my mind and tune out everything else. For individual states, you have one shot at everything and one routine. If you mess it up, there’s not a second chance. [The team] always brings cards, coloring books and board games. A lot of times we mess around to keep our minds off of the [meet].

Lucas Gentilia: What sport do you enjoy playing the most?

Katie Stewart: I would have to say gymnastics because I’ve been doing it my entire life. It’s always fun learning new skills. You can always change things up and make it different while adding new dances and changes to your tumbling. The creative aspect is fun.

 

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About the Contributor
Lucas Gentilia, Business Manager / Sports Editor
Lucas Gentilia is a senior at Salem High School that loves being surrounded by friends and other energetic people. He is involved in all types of activities, including The National Honor Society, Student Council 2024, Link Crew, the Salem Rocks Baseball Team and The Perspective newspaper staff. His life isn’t always centered around school however; he is in love with music, and always has an Airpod in his ear. He enjoys artists like Mac Miller, Mac Demarco and Kendrick Lamar. In addition, he loves weightlifting, golf and watching sports in person whenever he can.

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