LATHAM, N.Y. — Miranda Lund walked out of the Shaker High School gym and into the hallway, smiling with her head down. There were subtle hints that the Plainview JFK sophomore had just accomplished something remarkable, such as the congratulations from passers-by, and, oh yeah, the dead giveaway: a 4 x 8 blue cardboard cutout that read “2016 Champion” that she clutched.
Other than that, you’d never know. Lund, the even-keeled, lighthearted gymnast who prefers talking about the successes of her teammates rather than personal accolades, stood alone at the top of the podium Saturday. In a field of 122, she won the all-around with a 37.600 at the state gymnastics championships.
“I was shocked,” the unassuming star said. “I didn’t think I was going to place in anything, except maybe beam.”
Lund won beam (9.350), placed second on floor (9.475) and placed third on vault (9.600). She became the first gymnast from Plainview JFK to win the all-around title at the state meet, and is the first Nassau gymnast to win it since Jess Panza of Island Trees in 2008.
“She’s so consistent because she’ll work, and work, and work some more,” Plainview JFK coach Debbie Rut said. “And I tell her, ‘OK, we’re done.’ Nope. Not Miranda. She will not walk out of the gym until she feels she’s at her best.”
Lund’s final event was the floor exercise, and as the last of Nassau’s state squad to perform, she had all eyes on her. What was she thinking at that moment?
“Nothing,” Lund said with a smile. “It’s just blank.
“It just kind of happens when I compete. I don’t really hear anything, I don’t really see anything, other than what’s in front of me. I’m just kind of in my own little bubble.”
Before she won beam, Lund talked with Plainview JFK senior captain Jamie Simon.
“She told me that she didn’t even warm up all of her skills because she was so focused watching me perform my routine,” Simon said.
Normally, this caliber of focus expresses itself outwardly on competition days: a stern look, an all-business demeanor. But that’s not the case with Lund.
“She’s always having fun. I’ve never seen her get down or stressed out,” Simon said. “When she’s doing gymnastics, she’s the most determined person I know. And she’s always there for all of us, too. She always puts other people before herself.”
After the awards ceremonies, Rut and Lund had their first chance to talk. As the coach and star pupil hugged, Rut whispered, ‘I knew you could.’ ”
“Today we came in and I told her, ‘Have fun and just do what you do everyday,’ ” Rut said. “And that’s what she did. She came in, had fun, and made history.”
It is a lot for a high school sophomore to take in. There are countless positives to take away from such a stellar performance. But as for the biggest, Lund just laughed.
“I’m just happy I didn’t fall once.”