March 12, 2012
by Annie Takahashi, Athletics Communications Student Assistant
What made you decide to transfer to UC Davis and how do you like it so far?
I started at Cal State Fullerton and I decided to transfer because the program was cut at Fullerton due to budget cuts, so it was all last minute. I emailed a bunch of schools and (head coach) John (Lavallee) was one of the coaches who gave a lot of feedback to me, so I started looking into it. I came up to visit in the summer and I really liked what Coach said about the program and his philosophies, so I chose UC Davis. The transfer so far has been really good. I was able to fit in with the team really well and the girls, and they all just accepted me. And the coaches, I've been able to adjust to their styles really easily, and I think that we are all able to work together really well.
How is the team dynamic here?
The dynamic is really great. I think we're a pretty close team, which helps a lot because in the gym a lot of what motivates you is the people around you, and the cheering is so loud in here all the time. Everyone is just supporting each other and rooting for each other. It helps a lot to have that.
How old were you when you began gymnastics and what motivated you to start?
I was three. My mom put me in tumbling classes with my cousins, just for fun I think. I really took to it and I started getting really serious about it, probably when I was in second or third grade, which is when I started competing. I started in the rec program and then I started at level five when I was in third grade.
What is your favorite event?
I really enjoy beam. Obviously it's all I do. I also really enjoy floor, so I'm hoping I can work my way into the floor lineup for next year.
What is your most memorable performance?
In terms of mastering a new challenging skill, what process do you have to go through and what attitude do you have to have going into it?
A few weeks ago in Colorado at the Air Force meet, we had a rough meet and beam was the last event, and I am the last person on the last event. Beam didn't go quite as well as we had hoped. I was able to go up and hit probably one of the best routines I've ever done and bring in a really high score and win the event. That's probably been my favorite moment so far.
I'm the type of person that likes to go through the basics and take steps to get to a skill. I'm not one to just throw it. I like to take little progressions. I'll use mats and spots and make myself comfortable as each step goes along, so that when I'm doing it, say on the high beam with no mats or spots, I feel as comfortable as possible.
Are there any special rituals you perform before or after meets?
Practices are not as intense as competitions obviously. And I do pretty well in practices so when I go to meets, I try to make it as nonchalant as possible, not adding a whole ton of pressure to myself. I like to dance around and sing and joke with all my teammates, and just make it a really fun environment so I'm having a good time. Right before I go up on beam, I don't watch the person in front of me. I go off on my own and gather myself, but besides that I'm bouncing around everywhere.
I read on ucdavisaggies.com that you like cliff jumping. Has there been any particular thrilling moment or place where you decided you really enjoyed it?
That's just a funny thing that I like to do, not super intensely. But whenever we go on vacations to tropical places, my family is really big on hikes, so we'll hike to the top of waterfalls and I just really love jumping off of those. My favorite is in Maui off one of the hotel's golf courses. If you sneak through at the edge, there's a huge cliff that goes out into the ocean. It's really tall, so you just jump off and you have to wait for the waves to bring you back up so you can climb onto the rocks again. I love the thrill. It takes me a while to get the courage to actually jump off, but once I do it, I just want to do it over and over again.
Aside from the gymnastics aspect of UC Davis, what else do you like about the school and the city?
Compared to the last college I was at, I really like the college town of Davis. At Fullerton it was a pretty big commuter school, so it didn't feel like there was a community. So I really like the community and how it's all just connected by bikes. I really like the environment up here a lot.
Are there any places you want to travel to, or are you thinking of studying abroad?
I would really love to study abroad. I'm probably going to have to do another quarter or so after my eligibility is up just because of the transfer, so I really want to try going abroad then. I'm not sure if they have an abroad program for my major there, but I think Australia would be an amazing place to go.