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One on One: Interview with gymnast Tiahna Stimely

Editor’s note – Recently, Hometown Sports Editor Kenny Varner sat down and talked to Perry/Juniata level 10 gymnast Tiahna Stimely. Stimely ended her gymnastics career recently after competing in State Competition and Regionals. We looked back at her long and distinguished career.

HS: Looking back to this year. How did the season go for you?
TS: It has been kind of a struggle getting through some of the things in my personal life but I do feel like I finished pretty strong. I made it to Level 10 regionals which is very difficult to do. So I have that April 12th. Overall, it was a pretty good year for me.
HS: Is it a little sad looking back at it knowing that it’s a chapter that is going to close soon? Or are you going to continue in college?
TS: I was going to but I do not think that I will continue. I will be attending West Virginia and their gymnastic team is very high up there, very top notch. So, I was think about doing something with the gymnastics program but I probably won’t compete.
HS: When did you start?
TS: I was born into it. My older brother and sister competed and my parents both coached so I’ve been doing it since I was able to walk.
HS: What is your favorite event?
TS: My favorite event would be the floor because of how much power I have in my tumbling and being able to go out there and show the judges just what I have in 30 seconds. It gets the adrenaline pumping.
HS: Which one do you like the least?
TS: I them all but the one I have the most trouble on are the uneven bars. That is not my strongest suit.
HS: Looking back, is there one particular moment that you savor as being the best?
TS: It definitely had to have been when I found out that I made it to Level 10 Regionals. I went into it feeling ok. I was very nervous. I knew it was my last State competition. Since I knew all the girls. I was competing against, I was comfortable in my element because I have competed with all these girls for so many years. So, I didn’t know what I would need to move on going into my last event but my mom and Jaimie stood up and started screaming for me and they both cane running over to me and gave me a big hug. Jaimie’s husband and my sister and my boyfriend came over and gave me hugs. It was just a really awesome moment realizing my journey wasn’t over yet and that I got to continue to compete.
HS: Most people don’t realize how much dedication and work goes into competing as a gymnast. Just explain a typical year for a gymnast is like.
TS: All summer Long we practice every day in the morning. We’ve practice in the morning all the back as I can remember. During the end of fall season and early winter we start competing and going to competitions. It goes for several months throughout the winter. We travel all over Pennsylvania and into Maryland. We’ve gone to sone big meets. We’ve gone to Cancun, Florida, Colorado. Depending how far we make it into the season, if we make it to the State meet or we make it to Regionals it will end in May. After that season, we go right back into practicing and honing in our skills.
HS: Do you have a favorite tournament?
TS: I definately love our home meets here. You know the environment and your comfortable with the equipment. It’s close to home so all you’re family and friends can come out to watch. They all get to see what you’ve worked for. The other one besides the Home meet is the Pink Invitational. It’s a big meet in Philly to raise money for breast cancer. It was a really awesome meet. I had a really fun time.

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