May is the month of Seniors!!! Before Corona Virus the Class of 2020 would of just finished up with their Senior Prom, taken the last of their exams, participated in special recognitions, cleaned out their lockers & walked across their High School Stage to receive their diplomas and turn their tassels. However, that has not happened for the Class of 2020, instead they have had cancellation after cancellation with proms, exams and graduation being conducted virtually all around the Region. These Seniors deserve to be sent off in style, to be recognized for their awards, accomplishments and how they have conducted themselves in these troubling times. The Class of 2020 was born resilient, with most coming into this world post 9/11 & now moving into adulthood during a global pandemic. Something has to be said for this generation, especially these athletes who have learned strength & perseverance in differently than their High School peers.
Our next 20 Questions athlete is not only a 2020 Graduating Senior, but a 2x JO National Qualifier, who surely would of made it 3 in 2020, a Regional Floor Champion, and a future War Eagle. Tara, who trains at Olympia Gymnastics in Shelby TWP, Michigan come from a family of gymnasts. Tara followed her two older sisters into the sport her older sister Abby attends Brown University & competes on the Gymnastics Team. Not only are the Walsh sister athletic, but they are extremely smart holding GPA’s over 4.0. For me I absolutely LOVE watching Tara on the Floor Exercise, her 2019 Floor routine was a circus them and one of my favorites. Her long lines make her absolutely beautiful to watch on every event. I cannot wait to watch Tara excel on the Floor Exercise when she heads to Auburn University in the Fall. So, while Michigan is still in lockdown and we are all forced to continue our at home gymnastics, let’s get to know Tara a little better as she prepares to turn her tassel and start her collegiate career in a post pandemic world.
How did you get into gymnastics? How old were you? Both of my sisters were in gymnastics, so when I was old enough my parents put me in a class. I was 18 months old when I started parent-tot classes.
What is your favorite event? Why? My favorite event is floor. I like that my team is able to get involved in my routine and dance with me. I also like doing floor skills more than skills on other events.
Favorite Skill to train/compete? Why? My favorite skill is either a 2 ½ on floor, or a maloney on bars. I have always liked twisting on floor. A maloney is a newer skill for me but I think they are really fun to do.
What is your favorite part of gymnastics? My favorite part of gymnastics is the feeling of accomplishment after you hit a routine or a new skill. A lot of work goes into each new skill and when you successfully hit that skill it is so rewarding. I also love the continuous support from my team. Whether I am having my best day or my worst day my team is always so supportive of me.
What college do you plan on attending? Auburn University, WAR EAGLE!
What is your favorite meet to compete at? Why? My favorite meet to compete at is J.O Nationals. When you go to nationals with Region 5 it is more than just one meet. The whole weekend is full of excitement, positivity, and team comradery. I really like meeting new girls from across the region and becoming good friends with them after only one weekend. Also, Region 5 is the most spirited region and it is really cool to see the whole region supporting you while you compete.
Biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far? My biggest gymnastics accomplishment so far is committing to Auburn. I have had placements at meets that I am proud of, but committing to a college I love has always been my gymnastics goal.
What is your favorite Region 5 Insider Feature or Series? I really like the 20 questions series. I like that I can read about other gymnasts thoughts, whether they are good friends of mine or people I have never met.
3 Things you could not live without? I could not live without my family (including my dog), my friends, and my phone.
Thoughts on the 2019-2020 Season ending like it did? It was hard to come to terms with the fact that I was done with J.O gymnastics. I have done gymnastics my whole life and it felt like a very unsatisfactory ending to my J.O career. I had more that I wanted to accomplish with Olympia gymnastics, but everybody’s safety is always the top priority. The hardest part of this situation is that I do not get to see my team and coaches every day, but it has made me more appreciative of the time I have had with them this last year.
What are you doing to keep up your training during Corona Quarantine? My gym has been doing zoom workouts Monday-Saturday every week. We do strength, flexibility, dance, mental toughness, and event specific drills. I have also been doing workouts with some of the current Auburn gymnasts, which have been strength and cardio specific.
What do you miss most about gymnastics during this time? I am missing my teammates the most. I am still talking to them over the internet, but it is hard not seeing them as much as I usually do.
What is the first thing you want to do once you can get back to gym & training? I want to get my skills back safely. We will probably focus on drills, strength, and basics when we get back to the gym so that we remain safe. I can’t wait to get my skills back, it has been difficult not training. I miss it!
Most embarrassing meet moment or gymnastics moment? I forgot my beam routine at regionals a while ago. I did my skills with no dance in between. It was pretty embarrassing.
Which athletes (any sport) do you respect the most and why? I really respect Kobe Bryant. As a team we had been watching some videos and interviews of him. I find him very inspiring. He had a unique approach to his sport. He worked really hard to be the best, but didn’t stop working after he was the best.
“Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses” -Kobe Bryant
Something you learned from Gymnastics that you will take with you? Gymnastics has taught me the value of hard work and that change does not happen immediately. The two go together because if you want to see an improvement in your gymnastics it takes hard work everyday in the gym. This can apply to any goal you have in life and it has helped me understand that I can not achieve my goals in one day.
Most Memorable Gymnastics or Nationals Moment? My most memorable gymnastics moment is winning state meet as a level 10 team in 2018. Our team worked really hard the whole season and it was a really rewarding moment. My most memorable nationals moment is winning the team title in 2019. Our whole team was friends and most of us had competed together before, and it was really exciting to win with friends from across the region.
What is the most valuable piece of advice or wisdom your coach has given you? Lori, Deanna, and all of my coaches have taught me so much and shaped my approach to gymnastics as a whole. The most valuable piece of advice they have given me is to focus on what you can control, not what others control. Also, they have told me that my gymnastics does not define who I am as a person, and I need to be able to forgive myself if I have a bad practice or meet. This has helped me so much because I am better at thinking about my gymnastics overall and maintain a positive mindset, even when I am struggling.
If you are also a 2020 Graduating Senior-What will you miss the most about Region 5 Gymnastics? I will miss the Region 5 gymnasts the most. I have made a lot of friends in this region and we are heading to colleges all around the nation. I will miss seeing and competing with them during championship season.
Bonus Question: Tell me something interesting about yourself….I used to be an ice skater when I was little!
Check our Tara’s JO Nationals Gallery