It was an early morning during the winter break and Bonney Lake High sophomore Hailey Taylor was her usual self at Auburn Gymnastics Center.
There Taylor sat, going through her warmup routines with her teammates. It was a usual start to a practice for the sophomore as her bubbly personality came out — like always — to brighten everyone’s day around her.
There’s not a worry in the world for the Bonney Lake gymnast.
“She’s a fun girl to be around. She’s gets along with (whoever) she’s with during practice,” Bonney Lake coach Helen Balabanis said.
It doesn’t matter what she’s working on, Taylor just knows to keep it fun.
“No matter what, you’re not just competing against (the competition), you’re competing against every girl on your team,” Taylor said. “At the end of the day, you don’t want to see somebody fail. You don’t want to see somebody get hurt. You always want to see the best out of them ... you want to see everybody succeed, and I think that’s what makes gymnastics great.”
Even if it’s a friendly rival, it’s about keeping it loose.
Hailey is a fun person to be around when you’re here. She’s just so easy to get along with.
Ashlee Tarro, on friendship with Taylor
“Hailey is a fun person to be around when you’re here,” Sumner senior Ashlee Tarro said. “She’s just so easy to get along with.”
It will be here where Taylor starts her second journey toward the Tacoma Dome Arena and Exhibition Hall for the state meet.
Last year as a freshman, Taylor exceeded her potential by reaching the state meet as an all-around performer, where she tied for 18th place with a score of 35.00.
“I feel I can do better this year,” Taylor said.
That trip was the start of something.
Vaulting her way
Taylor has a knack for vault routines. It’s one of the first stops she makes at practice, and why not? It’s the only place where she can be a kid.
“I like to start most of my practices with this event,” she casually mentioned.
The vault is a tough routine for many gymnasts, but Taylor seems to have found a niche within the event. After making it to the second day of state, the sophomore was able to take home 7th place honors after posting a score 9.200.
She doesn’t have the fear many girls do with it.
Bonney Lake coach Helen Balabanis
“She doesn’t have the fear many girls do with it,” Balabanis said.
Not even a new workout routine or the added fear of falling from great heights after launching herself could strip away the perpetual smile on Taylor’s face — or the quick laugh she would have after landing.
It’s the personality of keeping her time fun — for herself and others.
“It’s just better when everyone has fun here,” Taylor said. “Makes you enjoy it more.”
Taylor would go through one vault after another without hesitation, and she’s made many runs like these ones lately. After a deep breath, she charged at the vault at a full burst, only to flip and spiral into the air before dropping into a chasm of foam 10 feet below.
Somewhere during her run — or in her spin — Taylor messed up what she was trying to accomplish.
“I messed up on that one,” she admitted. “I didn’t get the launch I wanted.”
But the end result of the run was a routine at this point. There was Taylor with a giant smile, laughing it all off.
“My first time doing this (vault exercise) was two days ago ... At first I was nervous, but once I tried it, it was nothing,” Taylor said with a shrug as she pulled herself from the pit. “It feels like a cloud.”
There will be many more moments like this, failures and successes alike, as Taylor heads into the second half of the season as she prepares herself for state. And as always, each failure and each success will be met the same way — with a smile.
“I want to enjoy my time (while) I’m out here,” Taylor said.