In August, Maegan Chant’s life was uprooted.
The freshman made the 1,180-mile trip from her home in Waterdown, Ontario, to Gainesville to compete on a new team in a country she hadn’t grown up in.
She also had to adjust to the academic demands of college after taking a gap year to focus on trying to make the Canadian Olympic team.
For a 19-year-old, that can be overwhelming.
But from the moment Chant stepped on campus, she didn’t skip a beat.
“She has shown no signs whatsoever of any homesick(ness),” Florida coach Jenny Rowland said on Wednesday. “She’s a great role model herself, very mature for her age. And just can adapt, can handle, can adjust to various situations very easily.”
Although she was far away from her family, her Florida teammates welcomed her and helped ensure a smooth transition.
“Yeah, moving away from home and moving to another country is obviously a big change,” Chant said. “But I had a family to come to that has provided me with so much support and encouragement.”
Even with welcoming teammates, however, she's has to battle for the chance to compete for the Gators.
After competing on bars, vault and floor in the first two meets, she was out of the lineup after she injured her ankle during a tumbling pass fall against Kentucky on Jan. 13.
Though she enjoyed cheering for teammates, she wasn’t comfortable not being able to contribute.
Those weeks spent on the sidelines pushed her that much harder toward a comeback.
“I think it made her hungry,” Rowland said. “It’s so much fun to be a part of the team, even if you’re not on the floor, but to be competing is a whole different level.”
Chant regained her spot on bars four meets later and has not let go.
She has also competed on vault twice in the last five meets.
And while she is used to competing on big stages as an individual, with the NCAA Gainesville Regional just nine days away, Chant will have to deal with the pressure of having to contribute.
Her teammates aren’t worried if she will deliver.
“She definitely adds depth to this team,” freshman Rachel Gowey said. “We can still count on her to go up and a hit a routine when she needs it to be hit.”
Maegan Chant celebrates during Florida's win against Missouri on Feb. 24, 2017, in the O'Connell Center.