April 18, 2008
Stanford women's gymnastics is busy preparing for the NCAA National Championships next weekend in Athens, Ga. and a big part of their success this season has been due to junior Kelly Fee. Fee scored a 9.950 on beam in the NCAA Central Regional to help get the NCAA Championships.
Fee talks about how the team is preparing for the big meet next weekend and how they are looking forward to participating in another NCAA Championship.
Describe making it to NCAA Nationals and participating in another NCAA Championship:
Making it to NCAA Nationals last year gave the returning members of the team a redemptive feeling after missing out the year before. I am just as excited this time around, but I have the advantage of knowing what to expect when I get there. The mystery of how I will feel or whether or not we can handle the pressure is gone. I know that I will feel great and that we can more than handle the pressure. If you like competition, then this meet is fun...and I happen to love competition. There are tons of screaming fans, which makes for an exciting environment.
What is the team focusing on this week?
This week we are focusing on efficiency, details, upgrades, and confidence. We want to get the most out of each turn in order to save our bodies for the competition. Training efficiently not only protects our bodies, but also, it helps build our confidence. Because we can do most of our skills in our sleep, so to speak, we're working on fine-tuning each element of our routines to eliminate any deductions. On the other hand, we are also building off of the skills we've competed all year by training skills of higher difficulty that will allow us to stand out at Nationals.
Describe the feeling going into Nationals with last year's experience under your belt?
The feeling I have going into this Nationals is strikingly different from the feeling I had last year. With a year of experience to draw from, our team is better prepared this year. But it's more than that. Although my teammates and I approached last year's competition with the same goal we have this year, winning the team title, I feel like this year, it is less of a dream and more of a reality. There is no doubt that it will take our best effort to defeat the other teams, but drawing from my experience last year and the growth I've seen in our team over the past few months, it wouldn't shock me that much to stand on that first place podium.
Talk about a memorable moment this season out of the gym this season.
I will always remember this year's Big Game. Stanford reclaimed the Axe by beating Cal 20-13 in our stadium. Our whole team sat together in the student section, each one of us covered in red and screaming with excitement after every first down. The win marked the second incredible upset by our football team (in case you forgot, we beat #1 USC earlier in the season :) ). It was not only a great bonding experience, but also, an uplifting event that motivated us to go for our own upset.