The student news source of Garfield High School

The Garfield Messenger

The student news source of Garfield High School

The Garfield Messenger

The student news source of Garfield High School

The Garfield Messenger

Setting the Bar High

Garfield gymnasts weigh in on their time in the gym.
Setting+the+Bar+High

Gymnastics is revered as one of the world’s most physically demanding sports as it requires a myriad of skills to perform. While this daunting nature causes many to steer clear, to some it sounds like an enticing challenge. Meet some Garfield athletes who have competed and learn what it takes to make it in the gym!

Senior Annie Murray is competing in her final year on her team, at Metropolitan Gymnastics in Kent. “[I] was kind of all over the place [as a kid]; jumping on things and swinging,” Murray said. Because of this, her parents opted to enroll her in gymnastics, to put her energy to good use. Since then Murray has grown tremendously as a gymnast and now competes at a Level 10.

Gymnastics uses a unique level system to track athletic performance. To qualify to compete at a succeeding level there is a set of skill requirements that must be met. Level 10 is the highest a gymnast can compete at, outside of elite or professional competition. This previous season, after years of perseverance and sacrifice, Murray competed at Level 10 Nationals. Murray described her experience of missing out on lots of social opportunities to compete. “You have to just say no to a lot, even a weekend family vacation.” Gymnastics is a substantial commitment for Murray, making up a large portion of her week. “I have had some rough meets and I’ve gone through mental blocks but you just have to keep showing up,” Murray said.

Along with time management challenges the sport is mentally demanding. “The season has always been an extremely stressful time for me,”  Murray said. This year Murray hopes to, “enjoy [her] last season and just have fun.”

Another Metropolitan Gymnastics athlete Junior Hammet Lear weighed in on his experiences competing.  “Self-discipline. I mean it’s got to be the only thing on your mind, and you have got to be really dedicated to do it,” Lear commented on what gymnastics has taught him. Similar to Murray, Lear dedicated 20 to 30 hours a week when he was competing full-time. A year ago, Lear stopped competing. He shared the various factors that led him to this decision. “A lot of it was injury. I was very prone to back injuries. I’ve had three. Then while I was taking a break, I was climbing, and I tore a muscle in my back, and I never really took care of that,” he said. In addition to physical limitations, Lear left in search of, “a sport that’s more team-involving.” He has since found success on the baseball team. 

One thing that sets Garfield gymnasts apart from others is the obstacles they overcome and the sacrifices they make to play the sport. Seattle gymnasts are restricted to a small collection of gyms within the metropolitan area, most of which are located in remote suburban areas. The sport also comes with a high price point and often requires traveling. This poses a concern for the lack of accessibility within the sport. Schools in the district have begun offering the sport in the winter as an attempt to diversify and improve accessibility, however, Garfield currently does not compete in the league. “I think there are talented people, if it’s accessible at school it would open up a lot more opportunities,” said Lear.

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About the Contributor
Sela Harrison
Sela Harrison, Staff
Sela is a senior this year, and this is her first year writing for The Messenger. She loves everything outdoors and spends as much time as she can hiking, camping, backpacking and enjoying nature. Outside of school she plays frisbee, works at a café, and attends as many concerts as she can. Some of her favorite things include, 90s movies, thrift finds and Enlightenmint Yerbamate. She is beyond excited to be a part of this years Messenger staff!

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