Sienna Crouse

Junior Sienna Crouse stands next to the vault for a portrait in the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Jan. 18, 2018.

Nebraska women’s gymnastics head coach Dan Kendig has no problem voicing his opinion of gymnast Sienna Crouse.

“She is the epitome of a perfectionist.”

Those were Kendig’s first words when asked about Crouse.

Crouse is entering her junior year as a Husker, and while she may not always be perfect, she has built an impressive résumé of accomplishments throughout her first two seasons at Nebraska.

Throughout her freshman campaign, injuries became an obstacle. But when her sophomore season came around, Crouse proved that she was a top-level collegiate athlete. She was named to Second-Team All-Big Ten and was named First-Team All-American on vault at the end of the season.

Crouse said the honors were unexpected, and said she hadn’t been pleased with the performances which earned her the honors.

“I didn’t expect it because my vaults hadn’t been All-American status leading up to it,” Crouse said. “I knew to trust my training and as soon as I was honored I just felt like I had accomplished what I wanted to last year.”

Two of Crouse’s clearly-defining characteristics are her work ethic and high standards for herself. Her work ethic is not exclusive to her work in the gym, as she is also a decorated student. Since her freshman year, she has been named a Scholastic All-American in 2016, and an Academic All-Big Ten in 2017.

“Academics is really important just because I’m here for school, and gymnastics is an extra part,” Crouse said. “I think working hard in school translates to working hard in gymnastics. As long as I’m doing well in school, then I will be doing well in gymnastics.”

The gymnastics program at Nebraska stresses success inside the classroom and in the gym. Kendig said he views the academic success of his student-athletes as an essential part of their collegiate career.

“They are student-athletes,” Kendig said. “That is why they came here. It is that degree that is going to take them past these four years onto the rest of their lives . . . Our team GPA last semester was just under a 3.5. We do take a lot of pride in what we do in the classroom, and what we do in the community.”

Crouse is a native of Fargo, North Dakota, and when she was deciding where she would spend her college years, the sense of family she noticed at NU weighed heavily on her decision.

“Nebraska just represents a big family,” Crouse said. “‘There’s no place like Nebraska.’ That is definitely a true statement because as soon as I was here, I was welcomed as family. I know I always have my teammates and coaches to count on.”
Kendig sings her praises as an athlete and gymnast, but he also knows she needs to be having fun and avoid frustration in order to be successful.

“She’s just got to realize that if you’re not perfect every day, that’s okay,” Kendig said. “We’ve got 16 girls, and I can almost say that she is one of the most talented, if not the most talented, lady on this team.”

Along with being a member of the gymnastics team, Crouse has also embraced her role as a member of the Husker community and is appreciative of all the support the fans give her and her teammates.

“We have a great fan base,” Crouse said. “There’s a couple fans that we will go out and do stuff with if they ask just because they give so much to us, and we can give to them as well.” Crouse said. “We often try to do as much as we can for the fans because they do a lot for us.”

This season is much like previous ones for Crouse, and Kendig is confident in her abilities. Rather, he said he hopes she finds a way to enjoy her time as a Husker.

“I think she’s just got to enjoy each and every moment she’s doing this,” Kendig said. “I think she’s closer to that part of her development, and I believe in her, and I feel like she’s a great gymnast.”