Westmoreland County Senior Spotlight: Franklin Regional’s Linzi Shaffer

Monday, April 15, 2024 | 1:02 PM

At Franklin Regional, there’s a young gymnast who’s had a ton of success this year.

Her name is Linzi Shaffer, and for a sport that often gets overlooked, gymnastics is anything but easy.

She’s a member of the Elegant Elite Gymnastics team in Delmont, an organization she’s been with for four years.

“They did a lot for me. Hannah (Nicole) and Alex (Bubnov), my coaches, they’ve helped me get through so much,” Shaffer said of her experience. “My teammates, I give a lot of credit to all of them because they’re just there for me, supporting me and helping me just get through mental blocks or physical injuries.”

The accomplishments from the past few months alone create a long list.

Shaffer was the PA State USA Gymnastics Champion in the Level 8 Senior F Division in bars, floor and all-around at the USAG PA State Level 8 meet in Lewisburg on March 24.

“I would say I’ve improved a lot. It started out good and then there were some spots where I did diving, so I focused on that, too,” Shaffer said of her performance this year. “My gymnastics went a little bit down. We worked through it. After diving season ended, I kept on working through. I made it to states, made regionals and placed really well in states.”

Conditioning is an important part of gymnastics and becomes even more necessary for Shaffer, who dove for the Franklin Regional swim team this year.

“We condition every single practice we have. We practice around 16 hours a week. We put an hour into each practice that we have to condition,” Shaffer said. “That’s just part of the whole practice. At the end, we condition for an hour. That’s how we stay healthy.”

For young girls looking to get into a sport that requires a lot of patience and hard work, Shaffer shared her advice.

“Work hard. Definitely trust your coaches, trust your teammates. You have to put a lot of trust in yourself. You have to get through mental blocks. You have to get through physical injuries,” Shaffer said. “You have to continue to persist and keep on going and try to have fun with the sport at the same time.”

Shaffer is planning on attending Robert Morris and Carnegie Mellon for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively.

This week, Shaffer took some time for a Senior Spotlight Q&A:

How did you get interested in gymnastics?

My parents just put me in it whenever I was 2 years old because I was very energetic. I kind of just stuck with it.

Is there anything from diving that helps you with gymnastics?

They both show great sportsmanship. They help with time management. Just having your teammates and coaches supporting you and working through issues is just amazing from both of those sports.

How is college going to work for you?

For Robert Morris University, I’ll be going to major in biomedical engineering. They have a four-plus-one program, where I do four years at Robert Morris to get my bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and one year to get my master’s degree with Carnegie Mellon for engineering management.

Why did you choose biomedical engineering?

I’ve always been interested in engineering and inventing since I was a little kid. So I just looked at all the engineering things. But then what had me go into the biomedical field is that when I was younger, my dad had surgery, he needed something to help him with a bag. I would just make stuff to help him out. I just want to help out people in general. I think I can give credit to gymnastics and diving for getting into helping people.

What’s one thing that people don’t know about you?

I have sort of two birthdays. Legally, my birthday is in November. I was adopted from China, and the orphanage gave me that birthday in November. But they actually made me like five months older than I really am, so really my birthday is supposed to be in April.


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