Dragons coach keeps up intensity while pregnant

MUNCIE — During the past month, Jenny Musselman’s energy has surprised her team, especially because she is in her third trimester of pregnancy.

After every superb Kate Fee floor exercise, after every excellent Regan Elsea vault, after every clutch Tara Morey balance beam routine, the New Palestine gymnastics head coach has, without fail, let loose a celebratory dance.

“She is the most crazy pregnant lady I have ever seen in my life,” Elsea said.

During the New Palestine gymnastics team’s run to Saturday’s state finals, Musselman, due with her third child March 31, never let go of any of the passion or enthusiasm that has helped define her eight-year tenure at New Palestine.

While fun to watch, assistant coach Debbie Bruns said, it can sometimes be stressful.

“As a mom with a daughter her age, I worry about her,” Bruns said. “I’m always like, ‘I’ll get it, I’ll get it. Just sit. Let me do it. That’s what I’m here for. Just take it easy.’”

But it is not in Musselman’s nature to take it easy. Up until a few months ago, she still ran five miles a day. If it weren’t for aching hips, she said, she’d still be doing it.

The only thing she has not been able to do as much is perform for her team. As a coach and former gymnast, she prefers to show rather than tell, but recently she has been unable to perform many of her usual stunts in practice.

Other than that, said Fee, who has worked with Musselman for three years, nothing has changed this season.

“She really hasn’t been different. That’s the weird thing. You would think with her being pregnant, no one would be messing around because we were afraid of her or something. But she wasn’t a grouch,” said Fee, with Mussleman within earshot pretending to be offended.

The team has had fun joking with Musselman about the baby, who they hope will be girl.

“I want a girl,” Fee said. “I don’t think I could handle another Musselman boy.”

Musselman, who, along with husband, Jeff, already has two sons (Jake and Josh), doesn’t care about the gender of the baby. She’s just looking forward to coaching without the encumbrance next season. Actually, she’s just looking forward to soon being able to walk normally again.

“I have to say,” she said. “I’m kind of getting tired of waddling.”