MUNCIE — When Chelsea Wieland saw her parents on the floor level at the opposite end of Worthen Arena following Saturday’s Gymnastics State Finals, she had an idea she might be the IHSAA’s Mental Attitude Award winner.
A few minutes later, Wieland’s suspicions were confirmed. The Columbus North senior became the fourth Bull Dog to receive the Mildred M. Ball Mental Attitude Award.
“I couldn’t figure out why else (parents Todd and Tina) would be down here,” Wieland said. “I remember watching other state sports and how the parents would walk down. That was kind of a clue to me.”
Wieland ranks seventh in her class of 439 with a 4.21 grade point average on a 4.0 scale. She is a member of the National Honor Society, secretary of her senior class and a member of Student Assembly and Spanish Club.
“It’s really, really great when you can reward kids who epitomize what a student-athlete is all about,” North coach Sandy Freshour said. “Her hard work and her determination and her leadership and her selflessness all go together. She’s so committed to her sport, she’s committed to her school, she’s committed to her fellow teammates and committed to her family, so I don’t think it gets much better.
“She’s just like Mildred Ball,” she said. “She was just a workhorse, so it’s pretty special.”
Freshour and principal Dave Clark nominated Wieland for the award. She joins Pam Robillard (1974), Robin Loheide (1989) and Cassie Funcheon (2010) as Bull Dog gymnasts to win the award.
Wieland also is the second North athlete to win a Mental Attitude Award this school year. Reid Wilson captured the honor after helping lead the boys soccer team to the state title.
“I was really happy,” Wieland said. “I’ve wanted to win it. The principal talked to me about being nominated, and with the other great girls like (Valparaiso’s) Morgan (Algozine) and the Fort Wayne Dwenger girls, they’re all really good gymnasts, too, so it’s just awesome to be able to win this. Of course, I was pretty focused on the actual competition, and then to find out I won this was just icing on the cake.”
In that competition, Wieland finished 19th in the all-around with a 35.525 to help the Bull Dogs to a fourth-place team finish.
“There were some iffy areas, like my vault, but I made up for it on bars,” Wieland said. “Bars is not my best event, but I had a good routine on bars. Then, beam, we struggled a little bit, but we pulled through on floor, and that’s my best event, so I’m just glad that I was able to finish off right with my favorite event for the last routine of my life.”
Wieland is finished with gymnastics. Now, it’s on to track season, then track and field at University of Indianapolis, where she plans to major in physical therapy.
“It’s going to be weird not doing it since it’s consumed so much of my life,” Wieland said. “I’m really going to miss the girls, but since I’ll be doing track right away, I don’t think it will hit me that gymnastics is done. I think it will hit more once track is midseason or toward the end.”