Athlete of the Month: Kolber strives in both gymnastics and cheerleading

Sophomore+Eden+Kolber+competed+as+a+specialist+for+her+gymnastics+competition+on+Feb.+28.+She+won+first+place+for+her+floor+routine.

Valeria Luquin

Sophomore Eden Kolber competed as a specialist for her gymnastics competition on Feb. 28. She won first place for her floor routine.

Eden Kolber

Valeria Luquin

While participating in gymnastics and cheer, sophomore Eden Kolber balances it all by being determined and committed. 

“It had been so long since I had competed, it definitely felt good to get back out there,” said Kolber, who is also on the varsity cheer team at Birmingham Community Charter High School. 

She started taking classes at the age of two and began competing at 7 years old. Kolber competes all around, meaning she does a routine for all four events: vault, bars, beam and floor. After high school, she wants to be a gymnastics Division 1 college athlete.

On Feb. 28, the gymnast competed as a specialist for her gymnastics competition. She performed her floor routine and received first place. Floor is her favorite event because she loves to perform.

She had qualified for state championships, which would have taken place on March 6 in San Diego, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was canceled. She found out while she was at school.

“I was crying all morning because that means my whole season is over,” Kolber said. “It meant a lot to me, especially because I had been struggling a lot this season. Injuries and emotional stuff going on, I had definitely been losing my motivation.”

Kolber’s club for gymnastics, Wallers’ Gymjam Academy, hosted this competition. Chris Waller, the Founder and CEO, is also the head coach of the gymnastics team at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She has been practicing there for almost three years.

Because they were hosting, her coach got to choose who would perform first. Her coach purposefully made the group Kolber was placed to perform their floor routines last because she knew that everyone would be paying attention to Kolber when it was her turn.

“I was asking my coach, why can’t we go first, that makes no sense, why would you make me wait,” Kolber said. “She was like, ‘Oh I actually purposefully put you there because, by the time you go, everyone will be done so they’ll all have their eyes on you.’ She knows I love to perform.” 

Aside from being a talented gymnast, Kolber joined the varsity cheer team during her sophomore year of high school. Up until this school year, she wasn’t able to join cheer due to it interfering with her gymnastics schedule outside of school. 

She takes the role of side base in sideline cheer and is part of BCCHS’s competing team for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) competitions. 

Along with cheering, the team’s routine has a combination of stunts, dancing, jumping and tumbling. The first competition was on Dec. 7, and the second one was on Dec. 18. Kolber and her team won both of these competitions. They moved on to nationals, which took place in Dallas, Texas on Feb. 1 and placed ninth in the nation. 

“I think people underestimate cheer,” Kolber said. “When you do it at a competitive level it’s totally a sport. It takes so much determination and commitment.” 

With cheer practice beginning at seven in the morning up until 10, cheer is technically her first and second period. The sport is time-consuming and impacted her schedule. As a result, she decided to drop her Spanish class. She now plans on finishing the class over the summer. 

She considers her teammates to be her closest friends. Hoping to become captain senior year, Kolber finds the sport a lot of fun. 

“It makes me happy,” Kolber said. “It’s a lot of hard work but it’s really fun.”