Madeline Arbuckle, a UAA student-athlete, spent her 2016-17 year at school and on the road for gymnastics meets, making significant achievements.
“At this point, I think it would be weird to not have a full schedule and constantly have to prioritize things. I try my best not to get too stressed about school because I know that I can manage my time effectively and get everything done that needs to get done,” she said.
The time in the gym payed off significantly as Arbuckle managed to accumulate career bests in all of her individual events. She often competed as an all-around, receiving a high combined score of 38.250 as well as managing 9.7 or better in the vault, beam, bars and floor events.
With such a full schedule, Arbuckle generally balances everything going on in her day between the Alaska Airlines Center and campus buildings for her classes, but that’s nothing new for her.
“I have always been used to balancing school and athletics. By grade three I was training 20 hours a week and in grade six I had to start leaving school early to go to practice,” Arbuckle said.
Arbuckle’s GPA from the past semester and cumulative of 3.91 put her at No. 2 out of all gymnasts in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
“Pre-season and during season are the toughest times due to our heavy schedules and the exhaustion that comes with our longer workouts, which makes getting into the homework zone a challenge sometimes,” Arbuckle said. “[But] our competitive season ends during March, meaning that we are in post-season training when finals comes around. After seven months of heavy training, it’s nice to have some extra time to focus on school and make the final push to the end of the semester.”
Of course, with a major in environmental studies and a minor in business administration on her plate, Arbuckle is on the correct path for her goal of law school.
Arbuckle just finished an internship at Trustees for Alaska. At the environmental law firm, she was able to gain valuable experience as well as witness current issues and events happening in Alaska.
Arbuckle now only has an additional 15 credits remaining to finish her degree going into her senior year, which leaves ample time for the adjustments needed on her team.
In June, head coach Paul Stoklos, the program’s first and only head coach, announced his retirement only to be replaced by Tanya Ho in July. Aiding the new head coach and adjusting to the loss of several top seniors will keep Arbuckle busy in the 2017-18 season.
With her senior year in sight, Arbuckle has no regrets about coming to UAA when it was never her initial goal.
“I never really had my sights set on college gymnastics until my junior year of high school. Being from Canada, going away to join a college athletics team wasn’t very popular, so before that, I hadn’t given it too much thought. I also couldn’t imagine doing gymnastics for another eight years when I first entered high school,” Arbuckle said.