Gymnastics, Wrestling seniors say farewell

Courtesy of Adana Amor. UW Oshkoshs Adana Amor participates in the parallel bars event earlier this season.

Courtesy of Adana Amor. UW Oshkosh’s Adana Amor participates in the parallel bars event earlier this season.

Nolan Swenson, Co-Sports Editor

At the end of every season, UW Oshkosh senior athletes hang up their title and advance into their futures. Here, we’ll feature two senior Titans: wrestling’s Will Dixon and gymnastics’ Adana Amor.

Amor fell for UWO’s gymnastics team and campus her senior year of high school, but a lot more work came before she became a senior gymnast in Titan athletics.

Amore said she began gymnastics early in life after attending a party where she began experimenting with a gym.

“I started gymnastics at 6, which is kinda late,” she said. “I started because I was invited to a birthday party at a gymnastics gym. We played games and went on some of the equipment. After the party, I told my mom I liked doing all of that, so I got enrolled a week after the party.”

During her career, Amor said she had times of doubt due to injuries, but was inspired by seeing the college-level performances and continued her path.

“In middle and high school, I had injuries that set me back in the sport,” she said. “It made me doubt if I wanted to continue with gymnastics, but when I started watching college gymnastics on TV and realized that I wanted that to be me.”

She said that through connections with a previous teammate, she made a connection with Coach Karnitz, setting her on a path of being a UWO Titan.

During Amor’s first two seasons at UWO, COVID-19 struck, which she said made her time on the team difficult as it made it hard to transition into college-level competition.

“Freshman year was difficult, the transition between college and highschool was difficult,” she said “I wasn’t able to be on the lineup and obviously COVID-19 made it difficult because we would’ve gone to nationals that year, so it was hard as a team.”

During her junior year, she said that injuries began to occur that inhibited her from contributing to the team beyond encouragement, but she still did all she could.

“I unfortunately had shoulder surgery my junior year,” she said. “I tried to support the team whenever I could. Even though I couldn’t contribute to the team gymnast wise, I always contributed to emotionally supporting my teammates.”

She said that this season, she’s come in with a strong mentality making the most of all of her chances.

“My mindset now is to enjoy every moment, and I have to trust in my team and myself to do skills I’ve been using every year,” she said. “Being in the moment, staying in the moment and just having fun. I’m very confident that we can make nationals this year. We’re a very talented team, and we just need to be confident.”

Dixon began his sport later in life, but said that it still plays a major role as he has to confront what it is to not be an athlete.

“Wrestling was my whole life for the longest time so it was a year-round thing for me,” he said. “When it was done I asked myself what else do I like.”

He began the sport that became so central in his life in eighth grade, with the intention of using it to improve his performance in a different sport; instead he found immediate success in wrestling.

“I started wrestling in 8th grade, and before then I played basketball, but a football coach wanted me to wrestle because he was a coach,” Dixon said. “He kept on asking and I figured I’d give it a try and I made it to state my first year.”

Dixon continued wrestling until his freshman year of college, when he played football at St. Paul, until he said he began to miss out on what his friends were accomplishing in college wrestling.

“Originally, I didn’t wrestle in high school, but I saw my friends going to state in college, so I decided to transfer from St. Paul University to UW-Eau Claire,” he said. “I transferred to Eau Claire, then transferred to Oshkosh fall of 2019 junior year due to them offering engineering.”

Dixon wrestled for two years in an environment he said was welcoming and allowed him to engage with the team.

“It was a really welcoming environment and I loved it immediately,” he said. “The following year, I ended up getting the starting spot which was something I had worked for a long time. I didn’t make it to nationals, but it was still a good season. The following year was COVID-19 and it was all training.”

After that year, he said he took a year away from school to join the army, returning to UWO in Fall 2022 to wrestle.

“This semester started out really good, but I’ve been unlucky with injuries,” he said. “I tore my ACL and I worked hard to improve. My first match against UW-Eau Claire, the guy I was wrestling was top-five in the country. I haven’t wrestled in a while since I was in the army, but it ended up being a close match. This year, I performed at my highest level so far, even though it got cut short due to how many concussions I’ve received.”

Looking forward, Amor said that she intends to go to graduate school for physical therapy in Arizona. She said she was motivated to become a physical therapist due to her relationship with her highschool therapist who not only helped with the physical toll of sports, but the emotional aspect as well.

Amor said that she expects a good future for UWO gymnastics and never predicted that Oshkosh could become such a big part of her life.

“It’s bittersweet; I would’ve never thought that a little town could fill such a big part of my heart,” she said. “I’m excited to see what the future of UWO holds. We have a lot of talent coming in and already on the team, and Karnitz has a good eye for finding assets for the team.”

Dixon has no jobs lined up currently, but he plans on getting his foot in the door of engineering. After that, he plans to get into automotive engineering.

He said he feels confident that a new group of seniors will step up into leadership roles, and that Konitzer was a good step for the future of the team. 

“They are young guys on the team who will step up, so they’ll definitely be able to do well in the future,” he said. “The new coach was also a good step in the right direction; he’s always super positive and brings good energy.”