Our next 20 Questions Athlete is a tiny dynamo from World Class Gymnastics in Illinois. I first noticed Rhyley Pitts last year while we were putting together our Region 5 Twenty Five feature, I was completely blown away by this young talent, she was tiny yet powerful. Rhyley, who won’t graduate from High School until 2024 , throws some serious skills on the competition floor. I was completely caught off guard last year when I saw her BHS BHS Double Tuck Beam Dismount, I definitely was not expecting it, but was so impressed by the stuck landing. This year in 2019 Rhyley has upgraded her Balance Beam to include a triple series, but still launches that dismount a bit higher than before. Rhyley, who made JO Nationals her first time around, definitely is a talented young athlete and one to watch for the many years she has to come in gymnastics. I expect great things for Rhyley Pitts, this is name we might see on the world stage some day.
How did you get into gymnastics? How old were you? I started gymnastics when I was four. It happened while I was watching an episode of Curious George and he was playing around on the equipment. After that my mom asked if I wanted to join and I said yes.
What is your favorite event? My favorite event is floor, because I love to tumble and show off my routine to everyone.
Favorite Skill to train/compete? I would say my favorite skill is a double layout off bars.
Dream Skill? My dream skill is to have a double layout on floor or a Maloney on bars.
What college do you plan on attending? Why? I have gotten mail from three schools so far. I am keeping my options open. Every gymnast have a dream school and I have my mine. I would like to attend the school because of their academic and gymnastics program. They are really close as a team/family, they always have fun, and they do a lot of volunteering or helping people who need it. I love this school and can see myself there.
What is your favorite meet to compete at? Why? My favorite meet is our home meet, The Gateway Challenge, because after you compete your session, the following day is another session that is like a college meet. Everyone dresses up ( even the judges ), and each team put their best gymnast on each event to compete against each other.
Biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far? I would say my biggest accomplishment would be going to Nationals, because it was a really fun experience and a chance to meet other people that are not from my own gym. It also lead to an invite to attend developmental invite camp which was another highlight of 2018.
Who do you most admire in the sport of gymnastics? Why? I most admire Simone Biles, because she always gives it her all, even if she is away from the gym for a while. I also think it would be cool to have a couple skills named after you.
What is your favorite Region 5 Insider Feature or Series? I enjoyed spotting myself in some of the highlight videos throughout the 2017-2018 season. My favorite Region 5 video would be the best of the OMG moments of 2018 featuring some of the fails and bloopers.
3 Things you could not live without? I can not live without someone to talk to, my phone, and any type of light( I strongly dislike being in the dark ).
If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why? If I could be any animal, I would want to be a dog, because I would have people to take care and play with me, while still living inside of the house.
Do you have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions? My pre-meet ritual for home meets is to eat the same breakfast (boiled eggs with toast topped with peanut butter) Before touch the floor to compete I always do a prayer with my family. My ritual for beam, I wipe my feet on velcro mats before I go. Last, on vaut I do my mini drills.
Most embarrassing meet moment or gymnastics moment? Over the years I have experienced a lot of embarrassing moments. I have four that was really embarrassing. My first most embarrassing gymnastics moment happened when I went to the developmental invite camp, and lets just say I cut the cheese about three times while showing my bar skills. Also, one time at practice, I was running really hard for my first pass on floor and I tripped, then ended up sliding like a penguin across the floor. Lastly, at a meet on bars either two or three years ago, I made the whole first half of my routine and got to excited on my dismount, which caused me to flip superfast and land straight on my back. Once I even hit my head while jumping to the high bar, while competing.
What are you most looking forward to this competition session? I am most looking forward to competing my yurchenko full this year, since I had a little trouble getting it last year.
What is the most valuable piece of advice or wisdom your coach has given you? I would say the most valuable things my coaches had said to me was to take one skill at a time, be confident/ believe in yourself, and to trust the process. These help me a lot, because sometimes I forget what I’m capable of and how far I could go with my gymnastics.
Bonus Question: Tell me something interesting about yourself….It is hard for me to make new friends, because I always act shy at first. When I’m really a loud and silly person who just always wants to have fun. After qualifying to Nationals and hanging out with my Region 5 Junior group, it helped me get to know new people more without being shy, missing out on the fun, and some really nice people.