Continuing our coverage with our 2019 Eastern National Champions our next athlete is the 2019 Senior 7 Eastern National Balance Beam Champion Audrey Koester of Mid Michigan Gymnastics. Audrey, who grew up in the sport of gymnastics, also placed 3rd in the All-Around and helped lead her team to a 2nd place team finish. I have known Audrey her entire life! Her mother, who was a CMU Gymnast, was my coach when I was younger. We always joked about the fact that she coached me as a Level 5/6 and I coached Audrey at the same Levels. Audrey was also a joy to work with and super funny, it has been a pleasure to watch her grow into an exceptional Gymnast and young lady. It is actually crazy to think that she is graduating. However, it has not always been easy for Audrey dealing with multiple injuries over her JO career, she has battled back from every single one becoming better than she was before and finding success at the National Level. As Audrey finishes up her High School Career she will also be finishing her JO Career with not only Mid Michigan, but Region 5 as well. So, let’s get to know Audrey a little better as she prepares for her last season as a first year Level 10.
How did you get into gymnastics? How old were you? I got into gymnastics when I was only 6 months old. My mom started me in classes for something fun to do, and because she did gymnastics when she was younger. She didn’t actually want me to do competitive gymnastics but I loved it so much that I immediately fell in love with the sport.
What is your favorite event? It changes all the time, but right now I would have to say that floor is my favorite.
Favorite Skill to train/compete? My favorite skill to train is front tuck through to double back on floor and my favorite skill to compete is anything on beam because I feel that I do better under pressure and when I’m a little bit nervous.
Dream Skill? My dream skill would be a double layout on floor or a double back dismount off beam.
What is your favorite part of gymnastics? My favorite part of gymnastics is traveling and seeing so many new places with my teammates as well as meeting new friends at competitions. I like the bond that everyone makes in the gym.
What is your favorite meet to compete at? Why? My favorite meet to compete at is Eastern Nationals because I get to become a team with everyone else from around the region. I love the team spirit that is given off because it helps everyone to do their best.
Biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far? My biggest accomplishment other than becoming an eastern national champion would be when I placed first all around at regionals after only competing 2 meets before.
Who do you most admire in the sport of gymnastics? I admire anyone who works hard to reach their goals, no matter what sport it may be in. I admire Mckenna Kelley because of her team spirit and determination to come back after her injury.
What is your favorite Region 5 Insider Feature or Series? My favorite feature is coaches Wired because I can see how other coaches around Region 5 are, incase I ever happen to rotate with them at a competition.
What is your go to playlist or song before meets? I don’t have a specific playlist that I listen to before meets. I just listen to music that pumps me up and puts me in a good mood, whatever I’m feeling on that day.
3 Things you could not live without? I could not live without my friends and family (including all three of of dogs), food, and gymnastics.
If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why? If I were an animal, I would be a dolphin because they are extremely smart and very graceful. To me they represent kindness and a way of helping others around them.
5 Most Important or Must have Items in your gym bag? The most important things I have in my gym bag are snacks, a water bottle, my phone, grips, and headphones.
Do you have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions? Before every meet, I make a vision board to hang on my wall and set goals for myself that I can look at every day during the week. I always do my hair the same way for every meet, even using the same hair ties and scrunchies every time. If I do good at a meet, I try to do everything exactly the same for the following meet, especially the things that I eat.
What do you like to do outside of Gymnastics? Outside of the gym, I like to spend time with my family and hang out with friends. I love to do art and bake as well. But my absolute favorite thing to do is cuddle up with a blanket and lay on the couch with my dogs to watch a movie.
Most embarrassing meet moment or gymnastics moment? My most embarrassing meet moment would be in level 8, at our first meet, in warm ups, when I didn’t go for a vault and then ran into the table and hit it so hard that it lifted up and came back down on my arm.
If you weren’t a gymnast, what sport would you do or try? I would try diving, track, or softball. I used to play softball but it became too much once I started practicing for longer hours in the gym.
How does it feel to be a Level 9 Eastern National Champion? It feels amazing to be the Level 9 Eastern National beam champion, I feel that my hard work and determination that I put forward throughout the season really paid off. I feel especially accomplished because I had a major injury during the fall prior to season, I had to stay focused and know what I wanted to get out of this setback.
Most Memorable Gymnastics or JO Nationals Moment? My most memorable moment would be this year at nationals when I placed 3rd all around after getting my highest scores on both beam and floor after making a mistake on bars, which was my first event.
What is the most valuable piece of advice or wisdom your coach has given you? The most valuable piece of advice that my coach has given me is when she told me that “I wouldn’t tell you to do it if I didn’t know you could”. She also told me that “you need to believe in yourself, no one else can do that for you”. This has taught me to do gymnastics for myself and no one else.
Bonus Question:Tell me something interesting about yourself….One interesting thing about me is that I love babies and little kids.