MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The day is finally here – the start of the 2013 West Virginia University gymnastics season. Though the onset of the end of your collegiate career can be daunting for a student-athlete, senior Kaylyn Millick welcomes today with open arms, for she says it marks the beginning of a very promising Mountaineer season.
Tumblers’ Tales has tracked the WVU gymnastics team throughout the preseason, as the gymnasts have taken the time to write an update for Mountaineer Nation. Millick, a Washington, Pa., native, wrote today’s entry on the eve of her third and final season at WVU. An all-around gymnast, she is coming off a strong junior campaign that saw her earn 428.4 points, the third-best team total. A four-time All-EAGL honoree, she set or matched career highs on each event last year and tallied four all-around scores of 39.0 or better.
Millick ended her junior season on a high, scoring a career-best 39.225 in her 10th-place finish at the NCAA Auburn Regional Championships. Hoping to pick up right where she left off, Millick also sees today’s opener as a fantastic launching pad for the Mountaineers’ first season in the Big 12 Conference. Read on as she reflects on her team’s hard work throughout the preseason and describes her goals for the Mountaineers in 2013…
Preseason has officially come to a close. Tonight we will march out onto the floor, in Fitzgerald Field House, to take on the Pitt Panthers and show our fans what we have worked so hard to improve on over the past couple of months. What better place to start off than in an arena we ended in so well last season?
Last time we entered the Field House, we were competing against seven other teams to take the EAGL title. It’s a perfect day to reflect on as we approach a new season. The Mountaineers’ energy and confidence was impressive that day as we captured the team’s seventh championship – we left the league on top!
Our success in 2012 did not end in Fitzgerald Field House. We continued to climb to new heights and also clenched a program-best finish at the NCAA Regional Championships at Auburn. Now, we must build from there.
With many returning gymnasts and only a few new faces, the confidence coming off last year’s success is fresh in our minds and has fueled us throughout this preseason. It is incredible to see how far this team has come since September. Our returning competitors have perfected their routines, and the freshmen have revealed their talents and poise – both of which have added depth to each of the event’s line-ups.
As we prepared for season, there was one expression that coach Jason Butts stressed to us - Climb Higher. I could not think of a better phrase that fits this team. Staying focused isn’t something we take for granted. It isn’t easy to physically exhaust yourself day in and day out, and it isn’t easy to mentally prepare yourself for each routine. But both physical and mental toughness are necessary, and each of us wants success this season so badly that our hearts are doing the work for us.
Every action taken by each and every one of us is to reach the next level, and together we will be able to add to the success we had last season. The only way to go from here is up. I believe the Mountaineers can climb to tremendous heights this year, and I am extremely proud to say we have Jason to lead us there.
Although this is my final season, I could not be more ready to take the stage with my teammates and coaches. We have proved that we can overcome any obstacles – in and outside the gym – and that we are ready to compete with the top teams. Mountaineers will always climb higher!
Let’s GOOOO Mountaineers!!