Savannah Kaplan has built an impressive résumé in her short time as a gymnast. In five years with Aiken Gymnastics, Kaplan has emerged as one of the program’s top performers by competing in Regional Championships and the Eastern Nationals as well as winning South Carolina’s All-Around state championship for five years in a row.
On Thursday, she added another achievement. The senior at Mead Hall Episcopal School signed a letter of intent to continue her gymnastics career at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa.
Joined by family and friends, as well as administrators and faculty at Mead Hall, Kaplan put pen to paper to attend Ursinus. It was something she did enthusiastically, as her parents Liz and Daniel and sister Chloe, as well as Aiken Gymnastics coach Drahonira Krizova looked on.
“I’ve been doing gymnastics since I was 13. I wasn’t ready to end my gymnastics career,” said Kaplan, who was considering six colleges, but only Ursinus and Ithaca College would afford her the opportunity to continue competing in gymnastics. “Ursinus was the perfect match.”
Kaplan said she ultimately chose Ursinus, which is giving her a partial academic scholarship, because of its art program. Kaplan said she’s always had an affinity for art, and what she learned about the classes offered at Ursinus piqued her interest.
“The art program and the gymnastics program are equal at Ursinus,” Kaplan said. “It’s a good match for me. … I’ve been interested in art throughout school. It’s a talent I’m looking to grow in college.”
Despite her fascination with art, Kaplan remains undecided on a possible major.
She said she’d ultimately like to pursue a career in medical science, but the high school honor student and member of the National Honor Society remains undecided.
She’s definitive in her choice of Ursinus. Kaplan said the campus is beautiful, and she’s a big proponent of the small size of the college. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 1,600 students, Ursinus can offer lots of one-one-one time between teachers and students, something Kaplan said she’s looking forward to.
Although college will take Kaplan about 700 miles away from Aiken, she’s looking forward to the experience.
“I’m excited to start, it’s a different life. I can always come here to South Carolina, but I’m excited for a different experience up north,” said Kaplan, who expects to contribute to the gymnastics team immediately. “Most freshmen don’t get to compete right away but my coach told me as soon as I’m ready, I will compete.”
Kaplan lists her favorite events as the balance beam and the vault. For the Bears, she expects to be utilized as an All-Around gymnast. She won first in that event in the South Carolina state championship and the Regional Championship already this year. It’s very likely she’ll add more achievements to her résumé at Ursinus.
Noah Feit is the sports editor for the Aiken Standard and has been a professional journalist for more than 14 years after graduating from Syracuse University.