Raising the bar: gymnast places first in competition


Junior Gabby Watson balances on the beam. Watson placed first overall in her competition on Feb. 3.

Unlike many students who participate in school sports, junior Gabby Watson participates in a sport that requires strength, balance and flexibility: gymnastics. Evolved from exercises used by the ancient Greeks as a method for preparing men for warfare, gymnastics is now a competitive sport that comprises of many events.

Watson started gymnastics with her friend when she was only nine years old.

“I’ve been doing it for seven and a half years,” Watson said.

With around eight to nine competitions a year, Watson has to travel for almost all of them. She competes in all four events: vault, bars, beam, and floor.

There are many aspects of the sport that Watson loves.

“I enjoy floor the most, being able to tumble and dance,” Watson said. I also enjoy the close friendships I’ve made with my team, training almost every day in gymnastics.

Traveling to her competitions may lead to missing days from school but Watson makes it work.

“If I have to miss school for the competition, it’s normally only missing one day so I have one day of school work to make up,” Watson said.

Watson went to Ohio to compete in her last competition.

“I placed first all-around at my last competition on Feb. 3,” Watson said. “I was very excited and happy that my hard work paid off.”

However, the competitive environment may be stressful at times.

“The competition environment can be very stressful for me at least because I get really nervous before and during most of the meet,” Watson said.

Currently, at level nine, Watson looks up to other girls she trains with at the High Point Gymnastics Academy.

“I look up to the level 10 gymnastics I train with,” Watson said.

Watson has a goal she is striving towards this season.

“I hope to qualify for nationals,” Watson said.