MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Throughout the 2012 preseason, the West Virginia University gymnastics team and staff periodically checked in with Mountaineer fans and provided updates on the progress made in Cary Gym and the weight room. The team also shared stories from its multiple team-bonding trips and activities.
Now that the 2012 season is underway, Tumblers’ Tales will be wrapping up shortly, but not before two more Mountaineer gymnasts are featured. The 19th entry centers on freshman Reilly Beattie. A Richmond, Va., native, Beattie was sidelined by an injury in mid-December but is hoping to still push for a spot on the floor and beam lineups this season.
A three-year level 10 gymnast and co-captain at Richmond Olympiad, Beattie was a Junior Olympics National qualifier and finished in fifth place on floor at the 2011 National Invitational Tournament. She also earned first on beam and second in the all-around at the 2011 level 10 Virginia state championships.
A pre-sport psychology major, Beattie is joined at WVU by her twin sister, Parker.
MSNsportsNet.com: Can you believe that you’re already in the second semester of your freshman season?
Reilly Beattie: No, not at all. It seems like it went fast. Everything is very divided into preseason and season. Coming to WVU in August, everything seemed far away; but also, it now seems like I just got here.
The season came so fast, and I know that now that the season has started, it’s just going to go so much faster.
Do you like being able to get into a rhythm with the team?
With club, it (competition) was only about once a month. We only had five or six meets a season, and our season started in November and ended in May.
I like this (college gymnastics) better because you are always ready for your competitions. For me, competitions are fun, even if I’m not competing every event or in that meet at all. It’s still fun to be there and be with the team and cheer everyone on.
What role do you see yourself fulfilling with the team this season?
With my injury, I don’t know how fast I’ll be able to get back, but hopefully I’ll be able to compete in some meets this season. Otherwise, I just want to be there for everyone and cheer everyone on. I want to make sure I keep my teammates’ adrenaline flowing and keep the team’s spirit up.
The team is very focused on cheering each other on this season – do you agree with that assessment?
Yes! I feel like everyone is so excited to be here and wants to compete; also, even if someone isn’t competing, she is still happy for her teammates. You don’t really see that in club gymnastics because it’s so individual-based. Here, everyone is helping the team, so everyone is excited when someone does well.
Is it nice to be a part of that team atmosphere now?
Yes – it’s completely different. Being a part of a team sport makes everything more encouraging and more motivating. Competitions and practices are more fun and exciting, too.
Your injury obviously derailed your progress in the gym a bit, but what were some of the areas you were focusing on?
On bars, I am really trying to upgrade the second half of my routine and work toward a different dismount combo. On floor, I changed two of my passes to new upgrades, and on beam I’m working on my consistency so I can move into the lineup.
Do you expect to see action on beam or bars first?
It depends. For beam, we have a lot of depth and a lot of girls ready to go; it just depends on how everyone else looks at that point. I love to compete floor, but I need to move my skills on to the floor and away from the soft mats. With the injury, I don’t know how bars will look.
What do you love about floor?
Floor is really fun because you get to use the audience. It’s not as nerve racking – you can’t fall off like you can off the bars and the beam. I just try to have fun on floor. When my adrenaline is going, the passes are easier to do and it’s a lot of fun.
At Gold-Blue, all of the girls got into everyone’s floor routines – it’s like you have your own cheering section.
Five months into your time at WVU – are you happy you have your sister, Parker, here with you?
Definitely. She really helped me get through those hard days of preseason. We’re able to talk about gymnastics and school – really, anything! She’s just nice to have around.
I told someone the other day – I don’t even think of her as my sister; she’s my best friend. She’s always there. She’s someone to talk to, and to push me and motivate me. It’s really nice to have someone there for me, especially during such a big change.
What’s your favorite thing about being a Mountaineer?
Being a part of something that is really big. I feel like it’s such a big honor to be a Mountaineer. Working with Jason, Travis and Bridget – they make being a part of WVU gymnastics so important. At other schools, I don’t get the sense that their sports are as important.
Also, the pride associated with this team – it’s a really big deal.
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