A new competitive season has started and so has a new 20 Questions Season. We are back to highlighting our Region’s best Level 10 athletes. Our first level 10 of the new season is Isabelle West of Buffalo Grove Gymnastics in Illinois. Izzy, as her friends call her, is a 2018 JO National Qualifier who excels on the Vault and Floor exercise. I love watching Izzy on the competition floor because she absolutely loves what she is doing and you can see that in all her performances. Let’s get to know Izzy, who recently committed to a full scholarship, as she starts another competitive season and a run at the 2019 JO National Championships.
How did you get into gymnastics? How old were you? I got into gymnastics when I was two years old. I was always a very active kid, and I would swing around on the furniture and had a ton of energy. My mom signed me up for a mom and tot gymnastics class at BGGC, and I loved it and continued ever since.
What is your favorite event? My favorite event is vault. I love vault because it takes so much power to do, and I love the feeling of being in the air after you block off the table. I like how much strength it entails along with the grace it takes to execute a nice vault.
Favorite Skill to train/compete? My favorite skill to train and compete right now is a front toss on beam. It is a new skill for me this year and I like being in the air and then having a solid landing to finish it off.
Dream Skill? There are a lot of skills I would love to be able to train and execute. My dream skill in a routine right now is a double layout on floor. I am training it now and I am looking forward to putting it into my floor routine.
What is your favorite part of gymnastics? I love that you work so hard for your skills and routines and that work and dedication pays off. I also love being with my teammates 24/7.
What college do you plan on attending? Why? I plan on attending Northern Illinois University. I plan on going there because the people, coaches, and gymnasts there are amazing. The atmosphere is so positive and encouraging in their gym. There is an amazing sense of community at Northern Illinois that I am very excited to be a part of too. I also want to be close to home.
What is your favorite meet to compete at? Why? I love to compete at Hawaiian Pineapple Classic because it is my home meet, and it’s really fun to see my friends and family there. Also, a lot of my old teammates who have graduated come back, and it is always fun to see them. I also love competing at Nationals because it is so fun to be a part of Region 5. I love cheering for everyone and being able to be a part of the excitement while competing.
Biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far? My biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far is making JO Nationals in 2018 and placing 6th on beam and 8th on vault! Going to Nationals was such an amazing experience and I had the best time.
Who do you most admire in the sport of gymnastics? Why? I admire Shawn Johnson because she was so powerful, yet graceful. She’s strong and always looked very confident while she was competing.
What is your favorite Region 5 Insider Feature or Series? I love Region 5 All Access because it is interesting to see how other gyms train. I also love the podcasts because there is so much great advice and interesting conversation that is shared on the podcasts, and I love listening to them.
What is your go to playlist or song before meets? I don’t have a specific go to playlist, but I like to listen to songs that are upbeat. I like to listen to whatever music I like at the time that will get me feeling ready to compete.
3 Things you could not live without? I couldn’t live without my family and friends, my music, and gymnastics.
If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why? I would be a giraffe because they are tall. I want to know what it is like to be that tall. Giraffes have always been my favorite animal. I also think they are really interesting and beautiful.
Do you have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions? I don’t have any specific rituals or superstitions. I do always imagine my routines on the car ride there or once we arrive at the venue before starting to compete.
What do you like to do outside of Gymnastics? I love to do crafts. I like to sew and draw as well as bead together jewelry and make friendship bracelets. I have always been very crafty and I love to create projects.
Most embarrassing meet moment or gymnastics moment? At one of my meets when I was younger, I walked across the beam in the middle of my beam routine to dismount on the other side because I had always done that at the gym! I didn’t know I would be deducted, so I just walked across the beam.
If you weren’t a gymnast, what sport would you do or try? I think I would try lacrosse! A lot of my friends at school play lacrosse and it seems really challenging. I also haven’t done any sports with a ball other than soccer, so it would be interesting to learn how to use a lacrosse stick and play a sport with a ball.
What are you most looking forward to this competition session? I am most looking forward to showing off my new skills and having fun. I am excited to be confident in my routines and enjoy competing, as well as cheer for everyone around me.
What is the most valuable piece of advice or wisdom your coach has given you? The most valuable piece of advice my coach has given to me is that it is about the process. She told me to take things one step at a time and remember how far i’ve come as a gymnast and a person. I have always carried that advice with me.
Bonus Question:Tell me something interesting about yourself….Something interesting about me is that I am left-handed! I am a righty gymnast, but I write with my left hand.