In more than 25 years of coaching baseball, Maple Mountain head coach Gary Miner has experienced all the ups and downs that come with competing on the diamond.
So what’s it like for a baseball guy to watch his daughters compete in a judged sport like gymnastics?
“I hate that part,” Miner said Friday. “But we say all the time in baseball to control what you can control. I use a baseball analogy with them and say, ‘Are you 4-for-4? If so, then you did your part.’ It is subjective with the judging. It’s a little frustrating but we’ve done it for so long that it’s just about doing your part. Go out and compete and live with the consequences.”
Miner’s two daughters — sophomore Abbey Miner and freshman Sadie Miner — are the first sisters competing together on the BYU gymnastics team in more than a decade.
“We’ve had sisters before but they’ve been generational, so the older sister is here and then graduates, then the younger sister comes,” Cougar head coach Guard Young said after Friday’s home meet against Utah State. “To have them so close — they are already planning to be roommates next year when Sadie gets out of the dorms. It will be a lot of fun for them.”
The Miner family has been involved in gymnastics for many years now, so they are accustomed to the intricacies of the sport.
“Their older brother did gymnastics starting around when he was 5 years old,” Gary Miner said. “He did it until he was 15 and by the time he was ready to hang them up, they’d already started. It was part of the family culture. We’ve lived at a gymnastics arena for a long, long time.”
Gary’s wife, Sandy Miner, said one of the best things about 2019 is seeing both Abbey and Sadie at the same meet again.
“I’m just excited they are both on the same team again this year,” Sandy Miner said. “Last year was rough, going back and forth.”
The two Cougar gymnasts credited their parents for helping to get to this point in their careers.
“I wouldn’t be able to do it without my mom or my dad,” Sadie Miner said. “My mom’s been to every meet and my dad has always been a big support. He’s taught me a lot. It’s easy to use it in the gym.”
Abbey Miner said that having her younger sister back on the same team again has been immensely rewarding.
“Our lives have always been together,” Abbey Miner said. “Last year was super-weird because I’d go watch her meet and then she’s come to watch me. Having her here is awesome. We are together like 24-7. It’s really fun and she’s awesome to have on the team.”
Young said he sees the two Miner girls impacting each other as they work on their craft.
“They are good for each other,” Young said. “I think they calm each other down and they fire each other up the right way, like sisters can do.”
Sadie Miner explained the her older sister knows how to get the most out of her.
“She has helped me a lot, with school stuff and at the gym,” Sadie Miner said. “Sometimes I get too angry at myself and she’ll be the one to calm me down. I can’t get mad at her because she’s my sister — well, I can but then she’ll just get mad right back at me. It’s an even balance with each other.”
Young said both athletes have tremendous potential.
“Sadie is young, so she is learning,” Young said. “But the talent level is sky high. She is coming back from a shoulder surgery that she had over the summer. Right now you are seeing her just coming back, so once she is all healed up and has some training behind her, her talent level is going to be through the roof. This is not the Sadie you are going to see in a couple of months from now.
“Abbey is a product of working really hard over the summer, of growing and learning a lot. I think she is my most improved gymnast on the team right now.”
Gary Miner said watching his daughters compete as a father brings a mix of emotions.
“This sport is pretty brutal physically,” Gary Miner said. “There is always that angst because you don’t want them to get hurt. They’ve both had two major surgeries. Sadie has had both shoulders repaired and Abbey has had one shoulder and an ACL/meniscus surgery. Then there is always the anxiety with the emotional roller coaster of competing. The bottom line is that it is awesome. I’ve seen my girls work forever and now they are loving it.”
Abbey Miner said that one of her favorite moments with her sister came in Friday’s meet against Utah State at the Marriott Center when they were the third and fourth Cougar gymnasts on the floor routine.
“We had been talking for a couple of weeks that we should go back-to-back on the floor,” Abbey Miner said. “When we saw the lineup, that it was Sadie and then Abbey, we were like, ‘Yes! We get to go!’ I was super-pumped. Seeing her in the middle of my routine is super-fun. I really love it.”
It’s still early in the season, but Abbey and Sadie Miner believe BYU gymnastics has big things in front of it this season.
“I think we are on the rise,” Sadie Miner said. “We were down last week, but now we are back up and we are going to keep it like that because we did what we did in practice and it showed.”