Connor Cavanagh ’20 started gymnastics lessons when he was just two years old, and began competing at age five. It’s no wonder, then, that after more than 12 years of hard work, he’s off this week to Kissimmee, Florida, to compete in the Junior Olympics Nationals.
Setting aside 20 hours a week to practice gymnastics at a gym in Agawam run by former Olympic gold medalist Tim Daggett, Connor also finds time to participate in other sports.
“In addition to his noteworthy success in gymnastics,” cemmented Athletics Director Mark Conroy, “in his spare time, Connor also plays on the football and baseball teams here…pretty remarkable!”
A versatile athlete, Connor’s focus at the moment is on improving as a gymnast. “The most challenging part of gymnastics for me is how precise and explicit the sport is,” he said. “Nothing in gymnastics is given, I have to work hard for even the smallest improvements. Gymnastics is very tedious when it comes to form and technique, and any slight hesitation or form break will cost you in a meet.”
So far, Connor’s focus on perfection and hard work has paid off. He’ll be among the nation’s elite young gymnasts in Florida this week, competing in all events: the rings, vault, parallel bars, high bar, floor exercise, and pommel horse. Connor’s strengths are on the rings, the parallel bars, and the floor exercises, according to Lynn Cavanagh, his mother.
A level 10 gymnast—the highest level of expertise for young competitors—Connor spends more than 1,000 hours a year training, and takes nothing for granted. “Staying humble is what I use to keep me going during practice and at meets. Even if you know you are at the top it is important to continue grinding as if you are at the bottom.”
Connor’s family couldn’t be any prouder of him, Lynn said. His family travels with him to his meets, both home and away. Williston wishes you luck in Florida, Connor!