After only 4 years at Salem Gymnastics & Swim, 11 year old Raina Stickling is the Xcel Gold State Champion for her age group. After her impressive win at State we had the opportunity to watch her practice, and sit down to ask her some questions.
How old were you when you started Gymnastics? Did you love it right away? I was in first grade when I started gymnastics. My cousin and I were always doing cartwheels and trying to flip together so my mom enrolled me. I loved it right away, and it only took me a year to get on team.
What is your favorite thing about practicing gymnastics? I love being able to experience everything with my teammates. It’s exciting being able to cheer each other on, and we get excited when other girls do well.
What is the hardest part of gymnastics for you? Staying positive after hard days. But our coaches are awesome, and Kenny always helps us push through the hard times.
Besides gymnastics what are some other things you enjoy doing? I really like swimming, and try to make time for competitive swimming during the summer. I also really like math at school. When I grow up I would like to be a doctor for athletes.
Do you think practicing gymnastics has helped you with other aspects of your life? Definitely. Learning to push the the hard time and stay positive is something I use at school, and even at home.
How did it feel when you found out you won State? I was so surprised. It was definitely my best meet ever, but you never know. It felt awesome.
Talking to Raina was such fun! She is a very confident, eloquent young lady, and we loved getting to know her better. It is exciting knowing we have helped her grow and achieve some of her many goals, both in and out of the gym. We look forward to supporting her as she continues to reach for new heights.