Gymnastics Athlete of the Year: Candis Kowalik


It’s no secret that as Candis Kowalik goes, so does the Warwick Vets gymnastics team.

That partnership worked out beautifully in 2014.

Kowalik captured her second individual all-around state championship, while Vets took home the first state title in school history with the Division II crown.

To boot, Kowalik recorded the highest total in state history with a 37.850. Vets’ total team score was just a shade below that of Division I champion La Salle.

“This season was a lot of fun,” Kowalik said. “We had a lot more confidence. When we realized what we were capable of doing, and then hearing La Salle’s scores and seeing that we almost had the same scores as them, that’s where we really became competitors.”

The fact that Kowalik was able to earn a second individual title was made even more meaningful due to an ankle injury she suffered her sophomore year. She was forced to miss the state meet and was unable to defend her title from freshman year.

This season, she took first place in all four individual events – floor, vault, bars and beam – and cruised to the title.

“Everything comes naturally to her,” said Vets head coach Stacy Capone. “She does really well in showing the other girls where they need help. If they’re focusing on obtaining a certain skill, she’ll work with them in certain drills to obtain it.”

Kowalik continued her impressive campaign by winning the vault title at the New England Championships. It was the first time she ever did that particular routine.

Now she’ll look forward to her senior year, where she’ll try to lead the ’Canes to a second straight title. Kowalik has already done so much, but there’s a lot still out there.

“I know it’s going to be a very emotional year,” she said. “But the confidence will definitely be way higher for everybody, not only myself.”



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