San Marino High School freshman Skyler Pak’s gymnastics career has evolved from a ‘Mommy & Me’ class at the age of 4 to just ‘me.’
And – given the amount of work Skyler puts into her beloved sport – that’s probably just fine with ‘mommy.’
“I really enjoyed it, and my passion and love for the sport took off from there,” Skyler said of the Mommy & Me class. “I now train 30 hours per week. Five days a week, six hours per day.”
Add to that the educational rigors of attending a top-notch high school and Skyler is, obviously, one busy young lady. But it’s paying off.
Earlier this month, Skyler competed at a regional competition in Visalia, where she qualified for the Western Championships, which will be held from April 28-30 in Boise, Idaho. It’s the highest a Level 9 gymnast can achieve and Skyler had to place in the top 7 in her age group among girls from California, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada.
As a point of reference, there are 10 levels in amateur gymnastics. Currently, there are only 3,200 Level 9 gymnasts in the nation. Athletes compete in four events: vault, bars, beam, and floor.
“My strongest event is beam,” she said. “I like pushing and challenging myself. That feeling of nailing a routine after countless hours of practice is so rewarding. Gymnastics is definitely not an easy sport, but at times like those, I am reminded of why I continue to do it.”
Aside from the marks given out by the judges, Skyler is keeping her own scorecard of accomplishment.
“My participation in gymnastics has helped shape me into the person I am today,” she said. “It has taught me time management, confidence, persistence, determination and the value of hard work. A majority of my success both in the gym and at school comes from pushing myself. If not for this sport, I would not be who I am. It definitely is difficult when I am invited to parties and other social events that I have to deny because of practice, to be completely honest. However, doing well at a meet helps me learn to appreciate the extra hours I put in practicing.”
Mom Rene and dad Charles shuttle Skyler to training at West Coast Elite Gymnastics in Arcadia. Skyler’s sister, Blake, is an 8th grader and a competitive swimmer for Rose Bowl Aquatics.