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.
With the 2012 season underway, Tumblers’ Tales will wrap up, with the 20th and last feature focused on freshman Jamie Judge. A Kenna, W.Va., native, Judge competed level 10 gymnastics under Susan Brown at Revolution Gym. She also competed for nine years at the Flip Flop Shop, the same gym where former Mountaineer and NCAA Championships individual qualifier Mehgan Morris competed.
A four-time regional qualifier, Judge, enrolled in general studies, placed fifth on beam and ninth in the all-around at the 2012 Eastern National Championships.
The WVU coaches believe that Judge’s speed should help her on vault and floor, her strongest events, this season.
MSNsportsNet.com: Can you describe what it’s like for a West Virginia native to now compete for WVU?
Jamie Judge: It’s great. I feel like I’ve accomplished one of my major life goals. I’ve worked so many years to be a collegiate gymnast, so it’s great.
There were not any West Virginia natives on last year’s squad. Is there any pride associated with being one of the two (Beth Deal) in-state gymnasts on this year’s roster?
It feels good to be one of the gymnasts from West Virginia – it’s a really nice honor.
Did you ever attend a Mountaineer meet when you were younger?
Yes. My club team (Flip Flop Shop) did a show before a few WVU meets.
While there are some years between you and Mehgan Morris, you two competed for the same club gym, and she went on to achieve a lot of success at WVU. Did you ever look to her for inspiration?
Oh yes – Mehgan’s been my idol since I first started gymnastics. I was amazed the first time I saw her in the gym. I knew I wanted to be like her and follow in her footsteps.
How much did you look forward to your first Mountaineer meet?
I had been looking forward to that for awhile. I’m not sure if I will make the lineups at this point in the season, but our team is looking so great. Everyone is consistent, and I think we’re going to do very well this year.
What is the key to the team succeeding this year?
We need to be stronger on bars. Our beam lineup is already looking great! I know that falls last year caused a domino effect on beam, but I don’t think we’ll have that issue this year. Even if we have a fall, the team continues to stay strong.
Is that strength due to a confidence that is building in Cary Gym?
The confidence right now is very high. I think we’re all just very positive right now. Everybody is ready for competition.
What is the biggest adjustment that you have had to conquer since enrolling at WVU?
Being away from home. My teammates and coaches have made the adjustment easier, but I really had to adjust to being away from home. I’m fine with it now.
I just love my home and being with my family, and being away from them was hard at first. It’s much easier now.
Do you think some of your family members will be able to make the home meets?
My mom and dad will definitely be here for every home meet, and I think they will make some away meets, too.
Is it nice to know that you will have that support in the WVU Coliseum for you?
Yes. It makes me feel good that they’re still supporting me and that they’ll always be there for me.
Are you hoping your mom brings you anything from home when she comes to Morgantown?
Maybe some food? (laughs) Home-cooked meals are always nice!
After growing up a Mountaineer fan, what’s your favorite thing about being a part of WVU athletics?
I’m just happy that I’m here. It’s good to know that I’m making others proud. It feels nice to know that I’ve accomplished something.
Do you think you were born a Mountaineer?
Oh yeah! I’ve always supported West Virginia, and my parents were always big WVU fans; it’s just how I was brought up. I just love this college.
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