Sophomore Aspen Hattley Recaps the Exciting Alaska Trip in Gym Talk!
Sophomore Aspen Hattley Recaps the Exciting Alaska Trip in Gym Talk!
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hello Centenary Gymnastics fans!


Its Aspen Hattley coming to you with the Gym Talk for this week! What an exciting week for the Ladies as we were able to travel to and spend a week in (drum-roll please) … ALASKA!  We had a dual competition against the UAA Seawolves at the Alaska Airlines Center! This has been a highly-anticipated trip we have been working so hard for with fundraising and planning for this year! With the juniors and seniors returning for their second time, the freshmen and sophomores got to have their first experience in “The Last Frontier” together. With a long day of travel on Tuesday, getting adjusted to the 3-hour delay time change, walking in below 0-degree weather (brrr), trying to stay on our own two feet without sliding on ice, we were nothing but excited to start out adventure in the city of Anchorage, Alaska!

Day one, we got to attend a native art exhibition who presented handmade fur coats made of mink and bears, handmade carved small collectibles, dresses, booties, and so much more! After that, we went downtown to do a little souvenir shopping at the Polar Bear gifts shop. We were then able to get in a light practice in the training facility of the UAA Gymnastics team. We are so thankful to them for letting us come in and use their amazing facility! Coming off a strong practice, the Ladies were excited to see what the weekend of competition would bring us!

Thursday was spent adventuring to the south of Anchorage. First stop was the Alaskan Wildlife Reserve; we were able to see some Alaskan wildlife up close and personal – moose, reindeer, deer, the Northern cat lynx’s, bald eagles, and wolves. We were also able to try our hand at pushing our teammates around on a sled that was kind of like a scooter, you stand on the rudders and push with your free leg! Let’s just say some were better than others! After that we took a quick drive up to the mountains and spent time hanging out at the Alyeska Ski Resort. This was a great way to spend an afternoon; we were able to ride the tram up to the top of the mountain to enjoy the incredible view and watch the skiers racing down the slopes. We ate a delicious lunch overlooking the beautiful scenery extending over miles and miles of snow covered mountain tops all the way to the Pacific Ocean! We were jealous of all the people skiing, so we invented a new way of “shredding the slopes” by simply “using your puffer jacket to slide down a slope!”  What a fun way to get a little excitement and adrenaline going without having to risk life and limb by downhill skiing!  Coach was a little nervous, but she let us try our hand at cross country skiing for a little while. I guess she figured it was a safer option than the big slopes. No one on the team had ever done this, so it was a new adventure for all!  It was also a good way for all of us to use everything we have ever learned about how to fall correctly too!  On our little snow trekking through the Meadows Trail, we were lucky enough to see a moose just chomping on some leaves!

Our last adventure on our busy Thursday was to go to Mackenzie’s cousin’s house for dinner. We drove back towards Anchorage to their house, and as we exited our vans we were greeted by another moose in the neighbors front yard. We all stood there excited to see this creature out and about and so up close; he decided to show off for us and stroll across the street and to the side yard of our house! We were also witness to a beautiful sunset overlooking the ocean from the back windows of the beautiful home we were visiting. It was a perfect way to end such an amazing day!

Meet Day finally arrived and it was time to be pumped up, fired up, and ready to go! With a very strong warm up on all four events, going into the competition with the attitude to fight for every skill, coach Jackie was drilling “one skill, one routine, one person at a time,” to come in, do our job, support our team, no more, no less, focusing on how we can hit all 6 routines on each apparatus, but most importantly HAVE FUN! Day one competition started off on bars with a strong, high energy rotation, swinging bars with power and swinging big. Shout out to the bar stars senior Allison, junior Ashley, and freshman Evelyn with hit routines and shout out to Cami Bea with a phenomenal exhibition bar routine! Vault was quick, fast, and soaring to the moon. We had big layouts as our freshman Dee won the event with a career high, senior Taylor with a TICK, TICK BOOM stuck landing, and Aspen placing with a season best! The FLOOR ROARS were in the house as Cami Bea came away with a career high 9.8. Our last event was Beam, and I have to shout out to my beam queens with an attitude of determination to bounce back for Day 2! Overall, the team atmosphere was beyond average, we were having fun and soaking in the moment – C-UNIT was in full effect.

With a day off to enjoy festivities downtown, we were lucky enough to witness the start of the Iditarod Race 2017! We got to take a look at of some of the dog sleds that were going to be in the competition glide through downtown as they were announced for the big race. This was a pretty neat experience to witness something so well-known and to imagine the trials and tribulations these mushers and dogs would go through to finish the 1,000 mile course in the tundra of wild Alaska! We also got the opportunity to ride a real dog sledge with some pretty amazing pups pulling us along! Some were able to explore more of downtown to see the gigantic handmade ice sculptures, the running of the reindeer, and to hang out with family and team.  

Day two, we wanted a repeat of Day one, plus more intensity on having a tight mind, fighting for every tenth, heavy mental choreography, and building on top of what we have already set. Starting again on bars, we did hit a repeat as Evelyn scored huge with a 9.725, Tavia with whopping 9.675 routine that looked effortless, and Big AL closing us out with a big bar routine of 9.550! Vault shakers were ready to shake it up as Tavia, Cami, Dee, Spin, Ash, and Tay scored impressive with the huge layout (or layout ½) vaults! Floor was ready to get in formation with Navia and Ash with 9.850 and a 9.825, and Cami “Space Cowboy” with a hit routine of a 9.775! Finishing up on beam, strong minds were more instilled as Ashley and Delia hit with a 9.650 and 9.6! Ending this night with a fellow Louisiana boy who now lives in Alaska, the Scott Belmore family invited us and all our families for home cooked Caribou chili and fresh Alaskan salmon, we ended our trip with fellowship with team and family, reflection, and laughter! It was an amazing way to end our adventures in the great state of Alaska. Great job Ladies! I couldn’t be more proud of the work you guys put into this season and how it is paying off! Can’t believe season is almost over as we prepare for Arkansas this coming up weekend and MIC Championships the following weekend. We have had a long day of traveling and thawing out, now it is time to gear for this upcoming tri-competition against Arkansas and San Jose State, Friday at 7 p.m.! Hope you tune in next week! I’m signing off!