Those words echoed throughout the gym from the mouth of a Redmond High gymnast during an evening training session on Tuesday at Emerald City Gymnastics in Redmond.
First-year head coach Ryan Weed nodded his head in approval while discussing his team, which is comprised of five freshmen. It’s a small but hard-working squad, he noted.
“They’ve been improving all year — meet to meet — pretty consistently, which we’re really proud of. It doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon,” said Weed, who was an assistant to retired coach Jason Farr the last five years. Weed, whose squad was winless in 3A KingCo at press time, hopes to build on this season by growing his roster into double digits next year.
Leading the way for the Mustangs are Daniela Berreth and Aria Mix, who are scoring in the 6.5-7 range on their events. Weed noted that Berreth rolls through clean routines while Mix incorporates high-level skills into her gymnastics arsenal.
“I just really like gymnastics because it’s really hard and it challenges you mentally and physically,” said Berreth, who has been participating in the sport since fifth grade.
She especially enjoys vaulting.
“She’s good at it. She has a lot of height, a lot of power,” Mix said about Berreth.
Mix first took up gymnastics at age 6 and has been on the club scene with Northwest Aerials in Kirkland since she was 11.
“I like kind of the sense of danger and power it has,” she said of the sport. “So like on floor, you can dance and you also have strong tumbling passes.” She also likes to challenge herself and let her artistry flow.
But there is a fear factor that comes with the terrain as she’s sustained injuries over the years. Mix said she sometimes has mental blocks when she’s tumbling backward or flying high and looking at the ground.
“You just have to stay focused and think about what you’re doing,” said Mix, adding that, “If I mess up, I move on and go, ‘OK, there’s another meet.’”
When Mix nails her skills, she’s elated.
Other Redmond gymnasts are freshmen sisters Adela and Daniela Babin and Lauren Bausher.
Sophomore Ryan Cerka is injured and out for the season but she’s still part of the team and helps out the coaches.
Weed took up gymnastics at age 3 and later was part of a Woodinville exhibition team. He took a break from the sport in high school to compete in track and field and cross country at Snohomish and Glacier Peak.
He focuses on getting the girls prepared to compete and do it safely.
“No. 1 thing is safety, which is not just limited to preventing injury and all that, it’s also making sure that we’re learning the correct skills at the correct time and the correct order,” he said.
Along with his Excel document to track the girls’ scores, he provides vital encouragement and reassurance.
“Making sure that they’re aware of what they’re doing is looking good, (telling them) ‘We’ve certainly got a handle on that skill that we were working on,’” he said.