In my last blog I left off at the end of our first day of competition at Nationals. Next up, how well I did, and how well Team Massachusetts did.
As a team, we had a very strong day with some high scores on all events, so we knew we would definitely be one of the top five teams. But we wouldn’t find out how well we really did until the whole competition was over.
We now had to wait for the announcers to list the individuals who would be competing in the event finals. The top 10 scores on each event would be coming back to compete again and everyone was nervous for a spot. As a team we gathered in a circle and waited patiently for our names to be called out.
I waited, holding my breath, hoping to hear my name called, and finally it happened. I was called back for bars and floor! This was a really big deal. There was a lot of excitement and disappointment as some girls got a spot to compete again and some didn’t. We left the arena in our parade of black SUVs, and headed for the hotel.
It was 85 degrees and sunny and we were all ready to take advantage of the beautiful beach right outside our hotel. We spent the rest of the day enjoying ourselves and then had a big team dinner until the girls who were still competing turned in early for bed.
The next morning I woke up, performed my routine of getting ready and made my way to what would be my last high school competition ever- no pressure. This day of competition meant a lot because I wanted to do well for myself, and leave high school gymnastics on a high note.
And that’s what I did. I went to bars first and performed a routine that was even better than the day before. I could see how proud my mom was of me all the way from up in the stands.
I went to floor and took it all in. The fans cheering, my teammates yelling “c’mon Julia!”, and my coach’s excited look. I went out there and gave it all I had. My routine was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
Surrounded by my teammates who were congratulating me I looked at my mom one more time. I knew I made her proud. And my dad too, even though he wasn’t able to make it.
I sat down in a circle one more time with my teammates and waited for the awards. They announced vault first and then bars, my hands were getting sweaty. They called fifth place, then fourth and then my name at third! I ranked third on bars nationally! I was so excited. I waited through beam and then it was time for floor. I placed sixth in the nation! I thought that was it and my hard work was over but then they announced they would be doing all-around awards.
Turns out I did! I placed fourteenth overall. I was so proud of myself, I never imagined placing so high at a national competition.
It wasn’t over, because we had team awards. My teammates and I locked arms, and as they called out fifth, and fourth place we knew we were top 3. And third place we were! We jumped up and grabbed out medals, filled with excitement.
Never could I have imagined walking away from a national competition with not just one, but four medals. It was proof that if you work hard enough for something, in the end you will get what you deserve.
I left Fort Myers, Florida proud of how well I did and with some of the greatest experiences and memories I will every have.