Senior gymnast makes wishes into reality

Tasha Golding reflects on her gymnastics career before competing in 2015 WIAC Championship.


Cole Mayer

Tasha Golding on the Balance Beam at the 2015 Best of Minnesota meet on Feb. 22.

Paul Patane, Senior Reporter

After a collegiate career filled with ups, downs, and a bit of adversity, senior gymnast Tasha Golding takes to the Balance Beam in an effort to help propel her team to a top three finish at the WIAC Championship, which Hamline University will host in Hutton Arena on Sunday, March 15.

This season, Golding has competed only on the Balance Beam and that trend will not change for the WIAC Championship. It is an opportunity Golding embraces, but that was not always the case. In fact, she once dreaded it.

“Coming in to college, I had hated Beam. I didn’t think that was one of the events I would be good at,” Golding said. “But ever since the middle of my freshman year, all I wanted to do was spend time on Beam.”

Golding began her Piper gymnastics career competing in four events. However, she found herself on the outside looking in as teammates were in the competitive lineup at meets while she watched and cheered on her peers.

Hamline Gymnastics Head Coach Doug Byrnes was unsure about Golding’s future as a gymnast when she competed in four events.

“As a freshman, she was an all-arounder. She struggled to put herself in the position to be able to compete. We had other athletes that were better,” Byrnes said.

As the season went on, Golding went down to three events. By the time her junior season began, she was only on the Balance Beam. Byrnes has seen Golding evolve as a young woman and gymnast since her first season with the program.

“She’s worked very hard to make herself statistically relevant,” Byrnes said. “She’s put herself in position to be in the competitive lineup. As a junior, she really refocused her effort on what could make herself competitive.”

Byrnes recognizes Golding’s commitment and effort after several years of working together.

“If she fell or screwed up, she didn’t self-implode,” Byrnes said. “She’s had a couple ups and downs. Sometimes, we slip up a little bit. Through it all, she’s tried hard and kept her spirits up.”

Senior gymnast Jacklyn Clement is a good friend of Golding and has known her since they were both first-year Pipers. Like Byrnes, she noticed a change in Golding when they were juniors.

“Junior year is when she made the Beam lineup and has been in it ever since,” Clement said. “I think that once she stopped doing other events, it improved her level on Beam.”

Focusing only on the Balance Beam is not the only thing that has helped Golding. She has matured as a young woman and found herself changing for the better.

“When I met her freshman year, we were both really shy,” Clement said. “Gradually, over the four years, she’s opened up a lot. She’s a lot louder in the gym and a fun person to be around.”

Golding also recognizes how much she’s changed in her years at Hamline after finding her confidence and footing.

“Thinking back to coming in as a freshman, I was scared and I was very hard on myself then. I had a hard time believing in myself,” Golding said. “I was stuck in a very bad state-of-mind. I’ve had to face many obstacles and challenges that I’ve fought through.”

In addition to being more outgoing and better focused, Golding has found yoga helps her.

“I discovered a love and passion for yoga. It’s helped me with strength and balance in gymnastics. It’s a way to keep me calm,” Golding said.

In addition to yoga, Golding enjoys and takes pride in helping make wishes come true for sick children.

“I’m a volunteer for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. That’s a big part of my life,” Golding said. “I have a kid right now who wants to go to the Super Bowl next year. It’s addicting to want to help, so I keep signing up.”

Soon, Golding will graduate and the next chapter of her life will unfold. After wrapping her undergraduate years, Golding hopes to work more with the Make-a-Wish Foundation and also help Byrnes with his Spirit Gymnastics club, which is a passion for her.

“I work with the club athletes here, Spirit. I love it. I love coaching and it will be my way of doing gymnastics after I graduate. It keeps me in the sport and keeps me happy,” Golding said.

If Golding and her teammates finish the WIAC Championship in the top three, they will advance to the NCGA Championships in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The NCGA Championships will be held on Friday and Saturday, March 27 and 28.