When Sumner High gymnastics coach Kathryn Shimer walked into her first day of coaching last year, she was looking for a mediator to assist with her new team.
In stepped all-around performer Ashlee Tarro.
“It was my first year and I didn’t know the girls much, if at all, since I wasn’t in building yet,” Shimer said. “Ashlee was the first girl to come up to me that first day say, ‘If there’s anything you need to know about the girls, I can help.’”
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From that day forward, Tarro has been Shimer’s go-to girl on the gymnastics team as the senior leader has become someone who connects the dots with the coach and team.
“I just told her I would be there to help. She was new to coaching the team and I understood the girls here,” Tarro recalled.
Even with Shimer working in the building as a social studies teacher at Sumner, Tarro is still the coach’s go-to connection whenever there’s a need.
“She’s a coach outside of (Sumner) gymnastics,” Shimer said. “She takes that leadership role with everyone.”
Tarro is listed on Sumner’s roster as an all-around performer. She excels on the bars, which Shimer describes as “beautiful,” and she knows how to get in the groove for her floor routines.
“It easy to get into the bars because you’re just swinging there,” Tarro said. “It’s exciting and fun. For floor, all you have to do is get into the rhythm of the music.”
Tarro may not be the top gymnast on Sumner’s team, but that doesn’t matter. That’s because her leadership goes beyond just what she provides with team.
Both the Sumner and Bonney Lake gymnastics programs are in a unique situation. As both teams are rivals with the 3A SPSL as well as district rivals, both teams found a way to break that barrier.
The Spartans and Panthers often train together at the Auburn Gymnastics Center under the watchful eyes of both Shimer and Bonney Lake coach Helen Balabanis.
And just as often, it’s Tarro adding a helpful hand whenever the coaches need one.
“She’s a wonderful person who wants everyone to enjoy their time here,” Balabanis said. “She’ll be the one who gets both teams ready for warmups, or she’ll be directing girls on how to do something if Kathy or myself are busy somewhere else.”
It doesn’t matter to Tarro who she helps, whether it’s a beginner or someone on her team or even Bonney Lake’s top gymnast, Hailey Taylor.
“I find that helping people get to where they want to go is special,” Tarro admitted. “I just love helping people find their passion.”
“Ashlee is just fun to be around,” Taylor said. “She makes it fun to come out here for practice, and she’s one of the loudest cheerers (here) and at meets. It doesn’t matter what team you’re on.”
And that’s what makes Tarro special.
She’s listed all-around performer for Sumner gymnastics, but in truth, it’s her leadership that will make her team shine.
“I want to help my team reach their potential,” Tarro said. “This is my final year of gymnastics outside of working out. These girls have many more years ahead of them, and I just want to help to get to where they want to go.”