Redmond High’s Ashley He thrives off the challenge that gymnastics brings into her world each day and how it teaches her to be disciplined.
The massive amounts of training takes her away from life outside of the gym, she said, but with a solid workout or stellar meet results comes a boost to excel wherever she roams.
“I’m like a perfectionist, I always wanna do my best,” He said.
Vault and bars will be the Mustang sophomore’s spots to give it her all at the 4A state gymnastics meet on Feb. 20-22 at Sammamish High in Bellevue. Last year, He competed at state on the bars and floor.
“Now that it’s my second time, I feel like I know what to expect more, and throughout the season I’ve been building up to that,” said He, who added better skills to raise her start values and cleaned up her routines this season. She noted that consistency will be key to her shining at state.
He’s new vault includes a front handspring full and she scored a 9.125 to place fifth at the 4A KingCo/District meet, where she notched eighth all-around with a mark of 35.125. Her bars routine, which features a pirouette and more, is tough to hit, and she’s elated when that happens.
After trying soccer, ballet and other sports, He found her calling with gymnastics seven years ago and has competed at Emerald City Gymnastics Academy ever since.
“We hit gymnastics and that was the one,” He said. “I feel like I clicked pretty fast. At the beginning, I moved up the levels pretty fast.”
Redmond captain Aria Mix gains inspiration from training and competing with He. Mix added that He is focused, caring and motivational.
“Obviously she has a lot of talent, but her work ethic is absolutely incredible,” Mix said. “She does routine after routine after routine for like six hours. It’s really helped me because I’ll start to slack off a little bit and then I’ll look over and be like, ‘We both have been doing this for (six) hours, and if Ashley can pull out another bar routine, then I can pull out another bar routine.’”
The Reporter asked He a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:
What inspires you… a song, author, something like that?
I’m really into music and bands. Can’t play instruments. (Some bands are) Movements, My Chemical Romance and Bring Me the Horizon.
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”
What super power would you like to have?
What’s your favorite restaurant in the area?
A big fan of Red Robin.
If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?
What special skill would you like to learn?
I’d like to be able to pass any test.
What’s your dream vacation spot?
Amsterdam. Super aesthetically pleasing.
Do you have any kind of a routine that you do before meets?
They always play the “National Anthem,” if I remove my eyes from the flag at all during it, bound to be a really bad meet. Literally just stare at it until the song ends.