MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Throughout the 2012 preseason, the West Virginia University gymnastics team and staff will periodically check in with Mountaineer fans, providing updates on the progress made in Cary Gym and the weight room. The team also will share stories from its multiple team-bonding trips and activities.
Tumblers’ Tales is now featuring the Mountaineer newcomers, with the 18th entry centering on freshman Parker Beattie. A Richmond, Va., native, Beattie is taking advantage of her first season at WVU, with the coaches pushing her to build upon her already established skill set.
A level 10 gymnast and co-captain at Richmond Olympiad, Beattie was a 2011 level 10 regional qualifier. She finished in third place on bars and floor and fourth place in the all-around at the 2011 level 10 state championships.
A pre-sport psychology major, Beattie will add depth to the floor lineup this season. She is joined at WVU by her twin sister, Reilly.
MSNsportsNet.com: You’re less than one week away from your first collegiate gymnastics season – are you excited?
Parker Beattie: I’m so excited for competition season. It’s going to be a whole new experience for me; college gymnastics is not only different from club gymnastics, it’s completely different from anything I’ve ever done before.
Do you feel like you’ve gotten into the rhythm of being a part of the team?
Yes. It was definitely a huge adjustment, but it’s such a great, positive change. We have such a close team; we’re like a family. It’s a lot of fun and exciting.
What is one of the more fun things you have been a part of so far?
Every day at Cary Gym, our assignments are fun and different. It’s something that you can be excited for. Each day also is a challenge. It never gets boring in the gym. We have games with incentives, and that makes everyone work harder and push themselves in a fun, positive way.
Assistant coach Bridget Boyd has talked about the beam games, and she mentioned that it has been easier for the freshmen to adjust to her coaching style. Do you agree with that?
Yes, I think it’s a really good change to have coach Boyd with the team. I love her, and I think she has really helped our beam lineup.
Almost everyone hit beam at our intra squad at Pitt, and that goes to show that you don’t have to be so strict and hard-core on that event. Those games are getting the job done. Everyone is hitting her routines and being a lot more consistent without the stress. Those games remove the pressure, but also there always is pressure because of the incentives. Also, we all always want to win!
Is there a specific event that you feel you’ve developed the most on so far this season?
Probably bars. I’m doing a completely new dismount and new combinations. The only thing I have kept the same is my shoot over.
Is that exciting?
Yes, it’s really exciting. The progressions are very different in this gym than the one I came from – I never thought I would be able to do some of these skills. It’s really encouraging to have already accomplished so many new things so far.
The Jan. 8 home opener is your first collegiate meet – are you excited for the atmosphere?
I’m really excited to cheer everyone on and support my teammates. It’s going to be a whole new experience, but I’m really excited to be a part of it.
Has it been nice to have Reilly at WVU with you?
I love having Reilly on the team; it’s really nice. We’re always together, whether it’s walking to class or the gym, or studying together. We’re always there to support and encourage each other. We push each other in a positive way.
It’s also nice to have someone in the gym with you to help move you along. She’s my best support; I don’t know what I would do without her.
What’s your favorite part about being a Mountaineer?
My favorite part is knowing how much of an honor it is to be a part of something so big. I feel like the sports for this college and this town are so important to everyone. To have the opportunity to represent both is just incredible.
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