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  • Anastasia Vera

Claire Haklik Summer Spotlight: Covid’s Imperfect 10

The coronavirus has impacted millions of people and Cornell Gymnasts are no exception. Claire Haklik had scored a 9.925 to claim her second Ivy League Floor Title just weeks before the season came to a premature end.

The Cornell Gymnastics team had a glimmer of hope when it was announced that they had special permission to travel for their final regular-season meet the weekend after all sports were canceled. They continued on with practice as normal, having “the best practice of the season” with productive, loud, and encouraging energy, unknowing that their season would end that day. When the coaches gathered the girls to tell them their season had officially ended, there were tears from many of the girls who hoped to have at least one more shot at glory on their respective apparatuses. With the help of meet CDs, the girls were able to stay late at the gym to “chuck a bunch of skills” to hype playlists from the seniors’ last four years.

When gymnastics came to a halt, Claire still could look forward to a summer of opportunity.. The pandemic canceled her summer internship in New York City, but this setback allowed Haklik to pursue other exciting research opportunities. The Cayuga Fund operating through the Johnson School has allowed her to partake in equity research concentrating on working from home. The soon-to-be senior has also dedicated her free time to learning Anaplan software, building a professional network, and figuring out her career path.

Quarantine has taught the social butterfly how to communicate other than in face-to-face interactions. Staying close with her fellow gymnasts despite long distances is easy when they have “group chats galore” active every day and time to hang out in their favorite college town. Coaches are keeping tabs on off-season progress by holding bi-weekly zoom meetings.

As most athletes are keeping up with conditioning, Haklik has her mind on preparing for something other than her final season. Even though gyms in Georgia opened back up in May, she hasn’t been able to train. In September, she was injured with a slap tear in her shoulder, which she courageously competed through all season. With an upcoming surgery and plenty of time to recover, she’s confident that she’ll be able to start the season on time feeling much less pain.

In looking forward to a healthy final season, the reigning Ivy League Floor champion looks back on the most exciting meet of her collegiate career: her freshman year Nationals competition. Haklik remained confident throughout the meet, despite being on an underdog team. She fondly remembers, “I didn’t notice anyone else but my team.” The high energy of the competition and excitement about achieving school records made the Cornell gymnasts addicting to watch. While Claire would forever remember this intense moment, she spoke about the pressure an individual faces when competing: “All eyes are on you not to mess this up, your whole team is counting on you.”

Despite the nerves this intensity creates, Haklik believes that confidence will win the Cornell women’s gymnastics team an Ivy League championship. The floor champion is excited for a senior season where she’s healthy and can put on a strong showing, just as she has the previous three seasons.

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