By Haillie Pacheco, Journalism Reporter

Everything has led up to this moment, all the critiques and training.

It’s intimidating and frightening, but this is what gymnasts thrive on. 

“I’ve always liked to flip around and dance,” junior Whitney Owiti said. “Gymnastics is a mixture of the two, and it involves all the power and energy you have. I will always have the gracefulness and strength to get off the ground, it’s inside me.” 

Owiti and sophomore Kassidi Oliver are the only Texan members on the Arlington ISD gymnastics team this year, which is a small improvement from last year’s team which only featured Owiti.

“I’ve done it since I was little and it’s just been my motivation,” Oliver said.

While both team members started out early in training, they can each relate to the fear that comes with performing.

“I compete in balance beam, and at first it looks scary,” Owiti said. “I’ve fallen off a few times, but it’s scarier than it hurts.”

Arlington ISD gymnastics coach Amber Kelly has been in charge of training all the athletes and helping them improve their skills as well as technique.

“I’m incredibly proud of my athletes’ performances, it’s not always about first place,” Kelly said via email. “Sometimes it’s nailing a skill that you’ve been working on for three months!”

The last few medals the gymnastics team brought home were in the early to mid-2000s. The women’s division brought home one medal in 2015 for vault. The men’s division brought home 13 medals from various categories between 2006 and 2015.

While both girls have decided not to pursue the sport professionally, they said it would be something that sticks with them.

“It gives a lot of confidence,” Owiti said.

Haillie Pacheco

[email protected]