Girls gymnastics seek recognition

‘people usually act surprised when I tell them there’s a gymnastics team’

by Faith Isakson, staff

You’ve probably been to a football game, or at least heard about football in the announcements. Maybe you’re a basketball fan who watches their games in the gym with your friends. But have you ever been to a Shorewood gymnastics meet? 

The gymnastics team has seven members and practices every day after school at GYMagine Gymnastics in Mukilteo. That is where you can watch home meets, which are open to the public. The season starts in November and ends with district and state in February. You can find out when meets are on the gymnastics page on the Shorewood website. 

They have had two meets so far this season, with only a few cheerleaders and parents in the stands. Sophomore Emily Pedersen and junior Tia Lara wish there were more people watching. “I think it would be fun if there were more people there,” Pedersen said. Lara echoed a similar sentiment. 

Lara is currently recovering from an injury, but has done gymnastics for Shorewood in the past. She is a co-captain this year but has not been able to compete due to her injury.

However, senior and co-captain Julie Reid doesn’t mind the quiet stands. “Honestly I really like that nobody goes to the meets,” she said.  It takes the pressure off and is “not as stressful if you mess up.” 

During practices, because the team only has seven members, it is easy for the girls to connect with each other. “We all get to talk a lot while we practice, which is nice,” Pedersen said. “Everyone is really carefree and really easy to get along with,” she said. 

But the girls agree that it would be nice if the team was bigger. 

“I definitely wish there were more girls on the team. It makes the experience so much more memorable and exciting,” Lara said. Pedersen would like this too, along with more people just knowing about the team in general. 

“People usually act surprised when I tell them there’s a gymnastics team. It’s not really talked about a lot or said over the intercom,” Pedersen said. “I think it would be good if more people knew,  because maybe more people would try out.” Even their coach and Shorewood alumni Susan Riley would love to have more girls on the team. 

 “I wish we had more gymnasts on the team. I think COVID  has really decreased the number of athletes comfortable with being on teams,” Riley said. 

There is no experience necessary to join the team. Anyone is encouraged to try out. “If you don’t have a lot of experience you can start with the basics and work up,” Reid said. It is a great place to get to know some girls from Shorecrest, as they practice together, and make some friends. “We all get to talk a lot while we practice, which is nice,” Pedersen said. “It’s nice because we’re all friends, and it’s just like hanging out, “Reid said.

Before and during meets, the team comes together to support each other. “We do a little chant together usually before [meets] in a huddle.” Reid said.  “On vault, you do two vaults and so after the first one we sit down and we’re like ‘we want another one better than the other one let’s go,’ and then we say their name” she said. Pedersen said, “It’s just a big welcoming community.”