The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with Penn gymnast Skyelar Kerico — the Quakers' leader in all-around and co-leader on bars — to ask her 15 questions about her life before, during, and after Penn gymnastics.
1. Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Skyelar Kerico, but I always go by Skye. I'm from Toms River, N.J., so the Jersey Shore. I'm in Wharton and I don't know what I am studying specifically yet.
2. What was the best thing about growing up in Toms River?
The beach, the boardwalk, the summer nights. You'd go out with your friends or your family and just go on the rides. So many good memories down there.
3. When did you first get into gymnastics?
I was two when I did recreational classes because the doctor told my mom I was very active and that she should put me in something, so I started there.
4. Do you have a mentor/coach/fellow gymnast that has influenced you over your gymnastics career?
I definitely looked up to Aly Raisman. She was a big inspiration of mine growing up, but as you get older, my teammates are my biggest inspiration … as well as my family; I always want to make them proud.
5. How did you decide to continue with gymnastics at the collegiate level?
That was always the goal. I knew I would always be a collegiate gymnast as long as I stayed healthy. When I was younger, I wanted to go elite. But then I had teammates that went elite, and then I got older, and I didn't know if that was my path anymore — but I always wanted to be a college gymnast.
6. How has the transition been from your home team or high school team to your new college team?
I think having a team initially coming into college is the greatest thing you can have. It's just automatic friends and I love them all. They're all so great and it's been good — I have no complaints.
7. What is your goal for your freshman season?
My goal, as a student first, was to acclimate to college, learn better studying habits. But as an athlete, it's a big goal, but I wanted to go to regionals, and I wanted our team to win the Ivy Classic and the [Gymnastics East Conference Championships]. If I am healthy, my goal will still be to become the GEC Champion because it's one of the higher titles you can get.
8. The Quakers came in second last year at the Ivy Classic; do you think they can pull out the top spot this year?
Yes, absolutely. I have 100% confidence in my team, if I'm competing or not.
9. What is your favorite event to compete in? Why?
Bars. I feel like bars embodies gymnastics because a lot of people do vault or floor, but if you're very good at bars, I feel like that sets you apart. I always enjoyed bars as a kid and I always thought it was fun. I enjoyed swinging and the feeling of flying off the bars.
10. How do you keep yourself calm during your events?
For me, what I always do — especially before beam — is I take a few deep breaths, clear my head, and I remind myself that 'you prepared, you did the work, you're in control of what you're doing.' You can't worry about the past or what's to come, you just need to worry about now. A lot of people like to get excited and hyped, but I like to be very, very calm and level before I go.
11. What is your favorite thing to do besides gymnastics?
I don't have that much free time, but I do enjoy just watching movies. Definitely my favorite are '80s movies. My favorite movie is "Sixteen Candles". I love "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". I love old movies; they don't make them the same way.
12. What do you like to do with your teammates, besides gymnastics?
Probably just going out to eat with them, just talking, even doing homework. Just the little things … relaxing, watching movies, enjoying downtime.
13. In your wildest dreams, what does life look like after college?
Right out of college, I'd like to work for some corporation. As I said, [my concentration is] undecided, so I don't know what that would be, but definitely working, probably in some city near New Jersey so I can still see my family. Working, working out, being healthy because I won't be a student-athlete anymore — which is crazy. I'm done after I'm done [with college]. I enjoyed my time as an athlete, but I would not want to be a coach.
14. Lightning Round: Favorite color, TV show, movie, food, and artist.
Green, "New Girl", "Sixteen Candles", buffalo chicken pizza, [and] I know this is controversial, but I love Rex Orange County, Eminem, and Kanye.
15. If you could give one piece of advice to a young gymnast out there, what would it be?
Live in the moment. You can't stress about the season or this or that; you just have to take it day by day, turn by turn. If you're thinking about too many things at once, you're just going to become so stressed. Just slowing it down, taking your breaths, remembering you're in control of your actions, and it'll all be good. As long as you work hard, you'll always achieve your goals.