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SASKATOONEXPRESS - August 7-13, 2017 - Page 12

All three Tyndall brothers excelling at gymnastics Darren Steinke Saskatoon Express ymnastics wasn’t always the only sport that occupied the lives of the three Tyndall brothers. Saskatoon products Wyatt, Mitch and Jesse participated in both hockey and gymnastics for almost as long as they can remember. Their father, Don, initially helped coach the trio in hockey, and their mother, Janice, helped coach them in gymnastics. With Don and Janice having heavy backgrounds in hockey and gymnastics respectively, those sports were always present in the lives of their three sons. Wyatt, Mitch and Jesse also took up baseball for an extended time, too. When it came to deciding on a sport, gymnastics won out, partially due to the fact the Tyndall brothers weren’t the biggest guys on the ice. Wyatt stands 5-foot6, Mitch is 5-foot-8 and Jesse is 5-foot-5. Still, Wyatt admits he and his brothers couldn’t be discounted on the ice. “We were all pretty good hockey players,” he said over the phone from Penn State University, where he is a member of the men’s gymnastics team. “We were pretty quick guys.” All three Tyndall brothers have excelled in gymnastics. At one point, they have all competed for Canada internationally. Wyatt is currently on Canada’s senior national B team, while Jesse is part of the junior national team. Wyatt, who is 20 years old, is heading into his third season in the National Collegiate Athletic Association ranks with Penn State. Mitch, who just graduated from Holy Cross High School, will join the University of Nebraska’s men’s gymnastics team. Jesse, who is going into Grade 12, is starting to hear from universities in the United States. Mitch thought gymnastics would take him to the NCAA. Training out of the Taiso Gymnastics Club, he listened to what Wyatt had to say about the NCAA, as well as former Taiso member Joel Gagnon, who is on the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s team and Canada’s national B team. “They are all telling me about how good the NCAA is and how the gymnastics are,” said Mitch, who is 18. “I thought I would give it a shot. I guess it worked out. “It is going to be a little more nervewracking in a way, a little more challenging, but I am excited. It is going to be a good time, I think.” Jesse said Wyatt broke the ice to make competing in the NCAA feel like a reality. “He kind of got to pave the road for us,” said Jesse, 16. “He gets to share his experiences with us down there. It kind of helps us out, when it is our turn to go. “It is prettyJames exciting to get to know JW080702

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that I have a chance there, but also, there is a little bit of pressure now. Both my older brothers are going, and everyone is wondering if I’m going. It is definitely exciting.” The brothers did have a family precedent when it came to competing in the NCAA. Janice was a member of the University of Minnesota’s women’s team for one season as a walk-on athlete. As the brothers went through the gymnastics ranks, they all supported, encouraged and pushed each other to get better both in the sport and in the classroom. Wyatt said deep down he felt he had to set the tone. “I’m the oldest brother and that is always in the back of my mind, trying to be the best that I can for my younger brothers, definitely,” he said. Before Wyatt embarked on his university career, all three brothers frequently competed in the same meets and trained together at Taiso. Both Mitch and Jesse said they went through an adjustment period when Wyatt left home. “It just felt like something was missing in a way,” said Mitch. “At home, it was different also. (Wyatt) always pushed us in and out of school and the gym also. It is a little bit different having him gone.” “It is just nice to have each other for help and support,” said Jesse. “We are able to push each other in training, because we are always kind of beating one another. It kind of makes us perform better in a way.” The Canadian gymnastics championships currently provide the only time the three brothers will compete at the same meet at the same time. Wyatt said he cherishes the opportunities to compete at the same event as his brothers more now than he did in the past, because they no longer see each other every day. The eldest Tyndall brother said he is missing out on little family milestones in and out of the sport. He said it was a bit freaky to hear Jesse had recently gotten the braces taken off his teeth and was about to get his driver’s licence. TA080713 Tammy

Jesse (left) and Mitch Tyndall are headed to bigger and better things in gymnastics. (Photo by Darren Steinke) “I don’t get to see them a whole lot,” said Wyatt. “I see them at Christmas. I see them on Facetime a lot. Every time I see them, they are growing up. They are getting better at gymnastics.” When Mitch and Jesse join the NCAA ranks, Wyatt said they will get to experience a different aspect of gymnastics. The eldest brother said the team aspect of the sport is emphasized in the NCAA. Gymnasts’ individual scores are added up with the rest of their team members. In Canada, competition usually happens more on an individual basis, he noted. In the NCAA, the team feel is similar to the one he had when he played hockey. “That was the biggest reason why Wyatt Tyndall is on the gymnastics team I went into college gymnastics was at Penn State. (Photo Supplied) because it was a completely different sport,” said Wyatt. “It is not about your- AS080706 Aaron self anymore. “It is all about the team. That was probably the biggest difference, was training with 20 of your closest friends and all working towards the same goal.” (You can see more of Darren Steinke’s work in his online blog stankssermon. blogspot.ca.)

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