When the state gymnastics championships are held at Cold Spring Harbor in March, the event will be missing two of Long Island’s brightest stars.
Defending all-around state champion Miranda Lund and Suffolk all-around and floor exercise record holder Skye Harper will be on the sidelines after suffering season-ending injuries in the past month.
Lund, a Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK junior, tore the UCL in her left elbow while warming up for a meet on Jan. 18 and underwent Tommy John surgery on Jan. 31, ending her season just before the Nassau championships. It was the third time she suffered a tear and the second since she began high school gymnastics — the last one ended her freshman competition.
“It was tough at first, but there’s no point in being upset or anything because I can’t change it,” Lund said while wearing a brace and cheering on her teammates at the Nassau state qualifier at Great Neck South on Tuesday.
Harper, a Bay Shore freshman, tore her Achilles tendon while competing in the floor exercise at a club meet last weekend. She had surgery on Sunday and will be sidelined for 6-9 months. September would mark just over six months from the surgery and the beginning of Suffolk’s fall gymnastics season.
“I just feel really bad that I won’t be able to help out my team, help them win,” Harper said of the state meet. “I’m going to go to the meet and support them the best I can.”
Each injury will require a grueling recovery process. Lund plans on returning to Nassau competition next winter for her senior season. In between, she’ll go through physical therapy and then, if all goes well, she’ll be able to do load-bearing exercises in 4-6 months, her mother Debra said.
“She always amazes me because I think if she feels a fraction that I feel in disappointment that her season’s over, it doesn’t show,” Debra said.
While Lund has experience returning from a major injury, Harper hasn’t dealt with an extended recovery before. She’ll be prohibited from walking for eight weeks and will start physical therapy in four. She said she’s prepared for the long road ahead.
“My mindset hasn’t really changed,” said Harper, who holds the Suffolk all-around record with a 38.475 and the floor exercise mark at 9.825. “I’m still going to have the same mindset going into things. It’s just going to be frustrating.”
Her mother and Bay Shore/Islip coach, Robin Harper, said her daughter has shown she has a positive mentality and is ready for the challenge.
“She’s been very mature about it,” Robin said. “She’s not very emotional about it. She knows it’s going to take a lot of rehabbing and she has to keep her body into shape.”
Though Lund and Harper will be dealing with their return, both will be in attendance at the state championship, rooting for the gymnasts who will be repres`enting the hometown teams.
Said Lund, “It’s almost better that it’s on Long Island because then I can go and sit with them and be a part of the team.”