DUNMORE — Abington Heights’ Tayler Osterhout, who will be a junior in the fall, recently gave a verbal commitment to do gymnastics at the University of Maryland.
“The coach gave me a personal tour around the whole campus and I loved it,” Osterhout said. “It was so nice. It wasn’t too big, but it wasn’t too small. Everything is within walking distance.”
Osterhout, of Clarks Summit, received a full athletic scholarship and the ability for her parents to make the four-hour drive to watch her compete in college also factored into her decision to commit to the Terrapins.
Osterhout also considered Auburn University, the University of Kentucky and the University of Nebraska.
“All the years of training just paid off,” she said.
Osterhout, 16, began training in gymnastics at age 3, and has excelled under the tutelage of coaches Omar Egas and Silvia Topalova at United Sports Academy in Dunmore.
“I love the coaching staff,” she said. “We’re all a family and everybody gets along. All the coaches helped me a lot to get where I want to be. If I wanted to do a new skill, they would help me get there.
“Silvia is like another mom to me. She treats me like her own daughter and we all have a really tight bond.”
Osterhout currently trains 21 hours a week, six days a week.
She qualified for the Women’s Junior Olympic National Championships, May 12-13, in Cincinnati, Ohio by finishing in a tie for second place at the Women’s Level 10 Region 7 Championship, April 12-15, in Landover, Maryland.
Having tied for 15th at nationals, Osterhout was one of eight athletes who qualified for the All-Star team for Region 7, which consists of six states (Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey and Delaware) and the 2018 Hungarian Championships in November.
“I’m excited to go to another country and compete for Region 7,” Osterhout said.
Egas noticed Osterhout’s strong desire to compete at a young age.
“I’ve taught Tayler since she was, probably, 8 years old,” Egas said. “We’ve seen a lot of improvement from the time she was just a beginner, learning the basics of the sport, to now where she is competing at the national level.”
He credits Osterhout’s strong desire to improve as a gymnast for her early commitment to a Division 1 university.
“She’s a workhorse,” Egas said. “She doesn’t stop and that’s probably her best asset. She hasn’t stopped since I met her and that’s what makes the athletes. She’s an all-around gymnast, but tumbling is probably her best event because she is very athletic.”
Egas is thrilled Osterhout will have the opportunity to fulfill her childhood aspiration of competing at the collegiate level.
“She’s a very accomplished athlete and we’ve been having scouts look at her for the last two years,” he said. “One of her first goals when I met her was to do gymnastics in college. She was only 8 or 9, but she was already thinking about it.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.