The feeling of flying

Freshman girl’s passion for gymnastics

Chloe Faris, staff writer

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She takes her spot on the end of the runway, rubbing her chalked up hands together anxiously.

Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, she sprints towards the vault like a bull, building up power to spring off the board and fly through the air in a series of rotations. She is in the air for only a split second, but all eyes are on her to see if she will stick the landing.

Teagan Jones, freshman, knows this feeling of weightlessness very well as a competitive gymnast. Describing herself as an “overachiever” Jones spends around 18 hours a week practicing for the United States Associations for Gymnastics (USAG) since third grade at Kids in Action Gymnastics Academy (KIAGA).

“I started when I was really little in the Mommy and Me classes. My mom wanted us to try a bunch of different sports to see what we like the best. She put me in gymnastics and I ended up really liking it [so] she put me on the competing team and it went from there,” Jones said. “I like the people who are in gymnastics, I like my team. I’ve been with these people since third grade so the friendships and different skills we [learn and] get to do is a lot of fun.”

Jones’ main reason for putting in the work for gymnastics is her love for competing and her team, she said. Participating once a month from December to March, Jones is able to showcase her new skills she learns throughout the year, she said.

“We compete four events: vault, bars, beam, and floor. You have an order of events your coach puts you in. I really like beam and floor a lot. I always get nervous but once I start doing the routine I kinda relax and know what I am doing,” Jones said. “I try to calm down and focus on what I am trying to do by [telling] myself, ‘I know what I’m doing, I have done this so many times before. Now just go have fun.’”

One of Jones’ more memorable competitions was when she placed second place, back in level five.

“[I felt] really good because I never really got a place like that before so it was cool,” Jones said. “At that meet the beam was really, really shaky and they didn’t fix it because they wanted it to be fair for everyone because they didn’t realize it was shaky until halfway through [the meet]. I was one of the only person who managed to stick my beam routine so that’s what helped me get second place.”

Gymnastics takes up a lot of time causing Jones not to have as much free time as the average teen, she said. Putting in the work is all worth it for Jones’ constant goal of getting better and she believes ‘even when it gets hard I know I have my teammates to help me.’

One team member of Jones, Carly Trebac, sophomore, has known her since fifth grade when she joined Jones’s gymnastics team. They became fast friends right away and are still on the same team today, Trebac said.

“I would say Teagan is very goal driven. She always wants to try her best all the time. She doesn’t like messing up, but I guess that’s what we all want to do,” Trebac said. “We just want to have our best meets all the time.”

Goal driven as she is, Jones spends hours at the gym after school and on weekends. Currently at a level eight gymnast, Jones’ goal is to be level ten, she said.

“You are not going to get the skills or get better if you don’t put enough work into it so you kinda have to be there often to put work into each skill so you can get it,” Jones said. “There [are] always new skills [to learn] or trying to get a higher level skill.”

Trying a higher level skill can make or break a gymnast, for Jones has recently broke a bone in her foot due to a beam incident causing her to be out of practice since January. Although this is a roadblock Jones does not stop trying to support her gymnastics team along the way, she said.

“[Teagan] is always there. She’s always helps the other teammates and even though she is hurt she is always encouraging the team,” Kayla Bailey, teammate and eighth grader at Middle School South, said.

When thinking about how she will manage high school and gymnastics along with other new sports or clubs, Jones laughed and said she is not one hundred percent sure yet.

“There is one girl who does gymnastics for the high school and I am going to try and see if I can join the team with her so maybe the hours will be a little less,” Jones said. “I want to keep doing gymnastics as long I can. I don’t know if I’ll do it in college or anything like that, but it’s fun so I want to keep doing it for as long as possible.”

 

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