SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s been one week since the University of Oklahoma defended their NCAA women’s gymnastics championship in Fort Worth, Texas, and reality still hasn’t set in for sophomore Danielle Sievers.

The Gary, South Dakota, native has competed two seasons with the Sooners, both of which ended in a national championship thanks in part to her performance. It’s a dream come true for Sievers.

“I’ve dreamed of becoming a national champion since I was little,” Sievers said Monday. “So, I don’t think it’s really set in yet, but it’s been a really exciting last week or so.”

The road to the national championship wasn’t easy for the young gymnast. When Sievers was nine years old, her older sister Meaghan had taken the next step in her gymnastics training and begun travelling two hours every day to Sioux Falls to train at All American Gymnastics Academy. Sievers also started to make the long journey alongside her sister, which would pay off for them both with both ending up at Division I gymnastics programs.

“So, I started (gymnastics) when I was three years old, and then obviously trained through my senior year,” Sievers explained. “Definitely a lot of hard work and a lot of hours put in, doing school in the car, doing a lot of things in the car. My family sacrificed a lot for me, so I’m so grateful for that. But it’s definitely a lot of hard work on, on everyone’s end– my family, myself, as well as my coaches.”

  • Oklahoma celebrates after winning the NCAA women's gymnastics team title, Saturday, April 15, 2023, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Now, Sievers is thankful for her sister’s dedication to the sport, which she credits for her success in Oklahoma. She’s also grateful to have someone to talk to who has navigated the collegiate gymnastics world as Meaghan ended up competing for Iowa State University.

“It’s been nice having a sister that’s been through the same grind, the same process that I have,” Sievers said. “Being a student athlete can be kind of stressful at times, but she’s really been able to guide me throughout my career, just starting when I was younger, up till now, so thankful that she’s been through the same thing. And I can go to her with anything.”

Now, the two-time national champion is enjoying the world of college gymnastics and being an inspiration to young gymnasts in South Dakota.

“It’s a really cool feeling that these little girls look up to me because I looked up to people that are in my same shoes when I was younger. It’s just really cool to be that person for them,” Sievers said.

With a second championship to her name, Sievers is already looking forward to the next season and getting back into the gym this summer to train new skills and further bond with her teammates.

“It starts in August… when the new freshman get here. We welcome them with open arms and spend a lot of time with each other in and out of the gym as well because these are our best friends honestly,” Sievers said.