Saturday, March 9, 2013
A tumbling and trampoline gymnastics meet Saturday served as much more than a competition. It also served to honor the memory of a 16-year-old gymnast whose goal was to one day share her passion for the sport with other young people.
The Sammy Ewertz Memorial Classic let friends and family of the teen, who died in a July car accident, remember everything they loved about the talented and positive young woman.
"Everything is for her because she was such a special person to so many people," Lindsey Ewertz, Sammy's sister, said. "She always wanted us to just be happy and positive and think about the good in life."
"This is what she wanted," Courtney Ewertz, Sammy's other sister said. "This was everything she lived for. She wanted to open a gym when she got older."
Sammy was on her way back to Kansas from the National Junior Olympics for Tumbling and Trampoline in California when she died in an accident along Interstate 40 in Arizona.
Friends knew Saturday's meet would be the perfect way to honor her memory.
"It's sad at the same time because we miss her," said Leeya Gardner, one of Sammy's best friends. "But it's really good that we had it to remember her."
"Everybody loved her and she was really good at gymnastics and she had been with the gym for a while," said Elly Boshers, another friend and teammate.
Sammy is remembered for how well she treated others.
"She was very happy and friendly and she was never mean to anyone," said Marina Gomez. "It's just great to have a meet for her."
Many of Sammy's friends and teammates at Skywalkers Gymnastics were glad the meet came together so well and was well-attended.
"I'm happy and I think I'll do good for her," said Miguel Bernal
The outpouring of support and strong turnout for the meet left Sammy's family touched.
"The support is overwhelming and this is her second home," Jenny Ewertz, Sammy's mom said. "She loves it here. She loves the people here."
"She tried traditional sports and when she found this, she just blossomed," Sammy's dad, Matt, said.
With her new passion, she also found a second family.
"That's the environment that we always try to reach when we're coaching," said Don Carter, coach at Skywalkers.
"Everyone has fun when they come here," said Dakota Buchanan, another friend and teammate of Sammy's. "No one comes here sad and, if they do, they cheer up in seconds."
Everybody from the gym came to the meet happy to sport purple leotards, which is something Sammy always thought the team should do.
"Favorite color of hers," said Ashley Villerreal. "We just decided we wanted to do purple everything."
There was even more significance to the leotards the team was sporting.
"They didn't know it when they picked it out, but they're the exact ones she wanted," Lindsey said.
Sammy's friends said that would be the perfect way to make sure she is always part of the team.