Our next 20 Questions athlete is Branch Gymnastics senior Emily Carless. Emily, who will be attending Western Michigan in the fall, is a stunning athlete to watch on the competition floor. Emily has beautiful lines, wonderful artistry and knows how to stick a beam dismount (she was a 2017 Yahtzee Award nominee). Emily had a rough end to her junior season last year dislocating her elbow [during warm ups] on the uneven bars at the Michigan Level 10 State Meet. After surgery, rehab and a summer full of limited workouts she has made a full return to the competition floor having competed at the 2018 Twistars Invite, with much success. Emily is definitely one to watch this season as she tries to finish out her JO Club career on a positive note. Let’s get to know Emily a little better as she heads towards championship season and tries to make her first JO National Championships before heading off to collegiate gymnastics.
How did you get into gymnastics? How old were you? The way I got into gymnastics was through my older sister Sarah. She was already in gymnastics so naturally my mom signed me up when I was two years old.
What is your favorite event? My favorite event is beam. I love being able to flip and nail a skill on a 4-inch surface.
Favorite skill to train/compete? My favorite skill to train would either be a full-in off floor or putting different beam combinations together. My favorite skill to compete would be my yurochanko layout full. I have worked really hard to get that skill so when I compete it I am happy that accomplished it.
What is your favorite part of gymnastics? My favorite part of gymnastics is going to the gym everyday to see my teammates and escape the “real world” for a few hours. I get todo what I love with the people I love.
What college do you plan on attending? I will be attending Western Michigan University for gymnastics and furthering my education.
What is your favorite meet to compete at? Why? I would say my favorite meet to compete at is the competition we host in Atlantis, Bahamas. It is a fun destination and I get to meet other gymnasts from different countries.
Biggest accomplish in gymnastics so far? My biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far would be making level 10 J.O. Nationals in 2016.
Who do you most admire in the sport of gymnastics? The people I most admire in gymnastics is Laurie Hernandez and my coaches. Laurie is my age and to see her accomplishments and hard work be paid off inspires me to continually work hard and push myself. I admire my coaches because they’ve gone through everything that I am and more. It is a privilege to have them walk through each step of the way with me.
What is your go to playlist or song before meets? My go to playlist before meets is my competition playlist. I have all of my favorite songs that get me hyped up before my meet.
3 things you could not live without? The three things I couldn’t live without would be my sisters/bestfriends, my Bible, and music.
5 most important or must have items in your gym bag? My 5 most important must haves in my gym bag would be tape, chapstick, food/protein bar, deodorant, and the positive little notes from my teammates.
Do you have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions? I do have a couple pre-meet rituals. I always have to wear my hair the same way in a braid with my neat pulled back bun and wear the same socks into the competition.
What do you like to do outside of gymnastics? Outside of gymnastics I love to spend time with my family. Especially getting to be on our boat together in the summer months. I like to spend time with my friends and go on spontaneous adventures. Lastly, other then doing anything water related in the summer, in the winter, I like to snowmobile or enjoy the snow in any way I can.
Most embarrassing meet moment or gymnastics moment? My most embarrassing gymnastics moment would be at my level 8 State Championships. On vault, I was running down the runway and when I punched on the board my legs gave out on me. I did a headspring over the vault then face planted on the landing. It was embarrassing but looking back now I laugh pretty hard.
If you weren’t a gymnast, what sport would you do or try? If I wasn’t a gymnast that would difficult because honestly I am the most uncoordinated person outside of gymnastics. However, I would probably try rowing. My older sister is a rower at MSU so I have some insight on what it’s like.
Which athletes (any sport) do you respect the most and why? The most respect I have for an athlete is Aly Raisman. She has stayed so extremely dedicated to the sport of gymnastics. It’s inspiring to see her at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Also to see her leadership skills as the team captain at the 2016 Olympics.
What is the most valuable piece of advice or wisdom your coach has given you? The wisest piece of advise my coach has given me is to never give up and always keep my head held high. I’ve had some pretty awful injuries throughout my career and hearing that helped me to keep persevering through each one.
Check out Emily rocking her favorite event, the balance beam, from the 2018 Twistars Invite