Local gymnast Emma Rochleau will be competing in the Senior Showcase Invitational from May 16-18 in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida.
Rochleau competed for Tahoma High School, but competed in her last meet for the school not long ago. The senior invitational is for high school seniors only and Rochleau said she thought, “why not?”
According to the National High School Gymnastics Association, this competition is for high school seniors from all around the United States. Each state has gymnasts from different high schools join together as a team to compete against other state teams.
To compete in this, Rochleau said it’s as easy as applying.
“You write down all your skills that you have and they watch you during your state competition and kind of choose from there who really has the skills,” she said.
The association described this competition as seniors’ “last hurrah” before their gymnastics careers come to an end. Rochleau said she’s a little nervous for competition because she hasn’t competed nationally for a while.
She said she’s most excited for the opportunity to experience her last ever meet with other seniors who are going through the same thing as she is.
During the nationals competition, Rochleau said she is going to be competing in all four events — vault, bars, floor and beam. She said her favorite event is the vault, even though she doesn’t always place well in it.
“Floor I think is my strongest, but bars is more fun for me because I think floor can get a little boring,” she said. “When I do it, I like the feeling of it. You feel really strong doing it. You’re flinging around and stuff, but you’re controlled flinging.”
Her mom, Rhonda Rochleau, said she enjoys watching Emma compete, but it’s also nerve-racking to watch as well. She said she kind of holds her breath when Emma is competing.
Looking back at her time competing, Emma said she isn’t going to miss it too much.
“Sometimes you dread competing. It’s kind of mixed emotions. Sometimes you’re just tired, sometimes you just want to go home and don’t want to do it,” she explained.
Personally, Rhonda Rochleau said she is going to miss her daughter competing. She described Emma moving on from gymnastics as a new “era.”
“She has done it since she could walk. It’s always been a big part of her life. So that will seem really weird,” her mother said.
Looking to next fall, Emma Rochleau said she will attend Eastern Washington University to major in forensic chemistry.
During her high school season, she placed fifth in vault for the state competition.