Plum gymnast Sarah Kvortek suffers season-ending foot injury

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Monday, January 23, 2023 | 4:49 PM


Plum senior Sarah Kvortek hoped for one final solid performance at the WPIAL individual gymnastics championships Feb. 11 to close out her high school career.

But those hopes came to a sudden halt last Friday at a high school meet at Premier Gym and Cheer in Baldwin.

While preparing for a dismount during her balance beam routine, Kvortek suffered a broken left foot. She will not compete again this season.

“To say I am devastated is an understatement,” Kvortek said. “I didn’t want to end my senior year this way.”

Kvortek’s left leg is the lead leg for her dismount, with the hopes of getting a strong push.

“That is so I can do one-and-a-half twists off the beam and land properly,” said Kvortek, who rose to Level 9 this year for USA Gymnastics and was coming off a junior season during which she earned her second individual WPIAL title (vault), finished runner-up in the all-around in the Intermediate (Gold) Division and went on to win gold in the all-around at the PA Classic state meet.

“When I went to push off, I was a little bit crooked. I heard it crack. I knew what happened. I followed through with the dismount because it happened so fast. I wasn’t in that much pain, but I knew it was broken. After it, I was just thinking, ‘You’ve got to be kidding. This is not happening.’ I was pretty upset.”

Kvortek said three bones broke in her foot as she used such power and force to get high off the beam for the dismount.

“I am pretty religious, and my grandmother gave me this little paper guardian angel, way back when I started doing all of this high school stuff,” Kvortek said. “She said, ‘Always pray to your guardian angel. They’ll keep you safe.’ I carried that in my bag at every meet I went to. It definitely kept me safe over the years, and I accomplished a lot.

“But when I called her to tell her about my injury, I told her, ‘Well, my guardian angel must have been on a coffee break.’ ”

Kvortek was taken to the emergency room for treatment and evaluation and fitted for a splint. She is expected to return to see a doctor in a couple of weeks to see if surgery is needed or if it will heal with the aid of a cast or a walking boot.

“I am determined to eat yogurt, cheese and vitamin D, anything to get some extra calcium, to make sure it is healed back up,” Kvortek said. “But I don’t think I will return to gymnastics. I think that book is closed for me. But I am trying to stay positive. Track season is in the spring, so I may make it for that. I’ve also been working on my personal fitness, and I will have a lot of time to do that.”

Kvortek said she hopes to do everything she can to help support and motivate her teammates at Ultimate Gymnastics in Delmont as they pursue their high school and club goals the rest of the season.

Senior night at Ultimate Gymnastics is Jan. 30, and Kvortek plans to attend. It would’ve been her final high school meet before WPIALs.

“I am just grateful for all I have accomplished in gymnastics,” said Kvortek, who plans to study exercise science and physical therapy at Slippery Rock. “Despite this injury and the early end, I feel very satisfied and fulfilled. I am glad I can go out saying that I won a couple of WPIAL titles and that I won a state championship.

“I also reached Level 9, which is a very challenging division to get to and compete at. There were so many positives.”

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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