Sierra Moore will look back upon her high school gymnastics career fondly.
After being in the program since she was in Grade 8, the long-time Quesnel Technics Gymnastics Club member competed in her last event this spring (March 7-8).
Moore says she started gymnastics when she was six or seven and went through the colours program, as well as Interclub, which is a pre-competitive program.
A talented gymnast, the natural progression was for her to join the competitive program, which she did, for three years.
However, once Grade 9 came around, the pressure to do well in school, combined with the 12 to 14 hours of training per week she was putting in, became too intense, so she joined the high school program.
“The high school program was only four hours a week,” she says, “Which was way easier.”
“I really like competing [in the high school program] because all the kids are your age, and most of them are there to have fun.”
Her favourite memories were attending the yearly B.C. Secondary School Championships.
“Every year, we go when we qualify, and it’s just the greatest time for our gym because we go down as a team, we stay at a hotel, we compete and then we have dinners or we go for activities.
“We all stay together, which is great, and we always have the banquet, which is a dance and a dinner, and it’s a whole lot of fun.”
Moore competed in bars, beam, vault and floor.
She likes bars, but her favourite routines are always floor. This year’s performance was particularly special for her.
“I made my own floor music this year,” she says. “I didn’t just pick [the songs], I filtered it to how I am and what I like, and everyone was so hype about it. They were all cheering, and we had a clap that everyone joined in on.”
Moore says she remixed three songs together, boosting the bass in places and placing in some rewinds. The final track hearkened to her earliest performance.
“When I was seven, my very first floor music was to “Crank That” by Soulja Boy. I figured I started with it, so I had to end my last year with it.”
Her teammates and coaches, who will all miss her, gave her an appropriate send-off at this year’s high school championships in Delta.
“Every year, they do a little rose ceremony for the grads where your coach brings you a little rose and it’s this sad time, so I didn’t know how I was going to react.
“Was I going to cry? Was I going to be OK?
“So I was going into the little rose ceremony, and I was like ‘I’m doing good so far, there’s no tears,’ and then [coach] Elizabeth [Floyd] was saying how she’s going to miss me and she always wants to keep me with her and I’ve been doing so great, and she started to cry and I was really sad.
“Then everyone gathered around and they were crying for me, and I didn’t know I was that important to the team.”
Floyd says Moore was far more important than she ever gave herself credit for.
“She is a darling girl,” Floyd gushes. “She’s a great mentor to the other athletes around her, really genuinely kind and always wants to do her best.
“She’s funny, so she’s the kid that everybody wants to sit beside on the trips; she’s the one that everybody wants to train with or room with or to hang around because she’s such a good energy.
“She’s just a very well-liked girl and a real positive role model for everybody.”
As a result, there was a little extra send-off for her after the initial rose ceremony.
“When we came back to our hotel [my teammates] did a little distraction and they brought me to the lobby and they were all lined up with roses in their hands,” Moore says. “All the athletes were there and they were all crying their eyes out. Looking back on it, it’s like all those fun times are over now and everything’s coming to an end, but it was fun to just be with the team and share those memories with everyone.”
Floyd says the high school program is open to anybody in Grades 8 to 12 who wants to do gymnastics, period, whether they want to compete for their high school or just want to train for fun or get a taste for gymnastics if they’ve never done it before.
A lot of girls, like Moore, who used to be competitive but just don’t want to train as many hours or give that level of commitment any more, enjoy the program as a way to keep their skills sharp and still be a part of a team.
“It’s really a broad range class that way,” Floyd says. “We really do get kids who’ve never done it before and just want to try it out and they don’t want to go into a badge program, as that’s generally for the young ones.
“When they come into gymnastics at 14 years old and they don’t know how to do something as basic as a pullover, they would, if it was a badge class, potentially be training with seven-year-olds.
“So this takes them out of that and gives them a class that everybody can be in at that age, rather than ability.”
For anyone considering giving the program a try, Moore cannot recommend it enough.
“It’s great just being with a group of people that you enjoy. You create a bond with those people because you’re not with seven-year-olds, so you create this little family. At our gym, I consider them my second family, so it is fun to go train with them and bond. And if you mess up, you mess up. Everyone’s just really supportive in general.”