Just hearing their weekly schedule is tiring.
Both Kirstin Stambaugh, a senior at Eastern York High School, and Aubree Horn, a senior at Dallastown, wake up just before 6 each weekday morning for school.
The pair later leaves school early, thanks to block scheduling that allows them to skip over study hall at the end of the day. A roughly 40-minute drive east on Route 30 over the Susquehanna River takes them to the Prestige Gymnastics facility in Lancaster County, where four to five hours of practice ensues.
They each get back home a little after 8 p.m., leaving just enough time for a quick dinner and to finish any homework before collapsing in bed. The schedule is repeated each day Monday through Friday. In a year-round
"I've grown used to it," Horn said following practice Tuesday night. "But it's hard because everyone at school is like 'I don't have time to do my homework' when complaining to the teachers. And I'm like 'You don't know the half of it.'"
The sport does have its rewards, such as medals, opportunities to travel across the country or, perhaps, the chance to compete at the collegiate level, something both Stambaugh and Horn will be doing after they complete their senior seasons.
Stambaugh has accepted a full athletic scholarship from NCAA Division I Central Michigan, where she'll join Central York grad Lindsey Litten on the Chippewas' gymnastics team.
Horn will be taking a little bit of a different path at Lindenwood (Mo.) University, which will begin its inaugural gymnastics season in 2013 at the Division II level.
The pair will sign their letters of intent to the schools at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Prestige gym.
Overcoming injury: Horn, who stands at 5-feet, 6-inches tall, is coming off a 2012 season last spring that saw her place in the top 10 in all-around competition at
Stambaugh bounced back in 2012 after going through two serious leg injuries the year before. The 4-foot, 11-inch gymnast -- her height has earned her the nickname "Mouse" from friends and family -- fractured her left fibula at the state meet in 2011, which kept her out of the regional and national tournaments. It marked her second serious injury in less than a year after she broke her right leg during practice in the summer of 2010.
"It was frustrating," Stambaugh said. "But anyone who competes in this sport goes through injuries at some point. So I'm not any different."
In the 2012 season, Stambaugh finished eighth in the all-around competition at the state tournament and 14th in the all-around at
Dedication: Competing in the sport since the age of 2, both Stambaugh and Horn understand the countdown on their gymnastics' careers is nearing an end. One more season with the Prestige team, which begins in January and ends in May, still remains. That will be followed by four more years of gymnastics at the collegiate level.
"I'm counting down this last year (in high school)," Stambaugh said. "But after it's through in college I don't know what I'll do. It's gonna be different."
Either way, the demands of the sport will likely have prepared them for the real world.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.