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Selina Nickason paved the way for U.S. scholarships

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Barry Wright

Next month Sarnia’s Selina Mirjavadi (nee Nickason) will take her place in the Central Michigan University Athletics Hall of Fame.

The former Bluewater Gymnastics star will be inducted at a ceremony at the Mount Pleasant, Michigan campus on Oct. 17, and then introduced at halftime of CMU’s college football game the next afternoon.

“It is quite an honour,” Mirjavadi said in an interview from her home in Connecticut. “I had no idea they were even looking at me as a possible inductee.  It seems like a lifetime ago.”

Mirjavadi attended Central Michigan from 1994-98 and was named Mid-American Conference (MAC) Gymnast of the Year and Senior of the Year, becoming the first student athlete in league history to capture both awards in the same season.

She helped CMU win two league titles, was an NCAA regional qualifier in 1997 and was named to a host of All-Academic teams.

And, though nearly two decades have passed since she attended CMU her scores in floor exercise, uneven bars and vault remain in the top ten in school history.

Selina and her old sister Jennifer were involved in a variety of sports growing up in Sarnia, but her ability in gymnastics quickly came to the forefront.

“I started (at Bluewater Gymnastics) when I was six or seven years old,” she said. “I started with a couple of recreational sessions, but was quickly pulled aside by the coaches and asked to try out for the higher level competitive teams.”

She made special mention of her coach at the time, Maria Mikola, who took her under wing and taught her a great deal about commitment and discipline.

“Selina showed ability for gymnastics from the day she stepped into the gym,” said Bluewater Gymnastics Club Director Dave Brubaker.

“She was involved in several sports throughout her gymnastics career which limited her number of hours in the gym to a few. It was not till she entered her latter years of high school that she really consider the possibility of a scholarship.”

She was the first athlete from Bluewater Gymnastics to acquire a scholarship to a U.S. university, paving the way for current NCAA athletes Dominique Pegg at Alabama and Talia Chiarelli at Michigan.

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