IT’S HER TURNER
StaceyPageOnline / Sports on Monday, December 10, 2018
WARSAW – For two years, Daylen Turner has been on the outside looking in. Now in her third year with the Warsaw gymnastics program, Turner is ready to stand with the best.
The junior is primed and ready to make that jump from performer to showstopper for the Tiger gymnastics team. After two years of honing her craft, Turner feels junior year is set to sharpen up what’s gotten her to this point. And after two years of falling short at sectionals, Turner is ready to make the jump into regional status.
Rather unassuming amongst the group, and perhaps quiet to a fault, Turner doesn’t jump out of the crowd as one who demands attention simply on stature. What does jump out about Turner is her consistent performances, and she generally does it with a genuine smile on her face. Two pretty good traits to have in a sport where image is often everything.
“I don’t really think about much else when I’m competing,” Turner said. “ I don’t think about the crowd or the judges or what the other team is doing. I’m thinking about me, my routine and what I have to do. I might think about some of the little things before and after a routine, but mostly I’m focused on what I have to do.”
Turner hasn’t reached the regional level yet as a gymnast, falling short last year in three events at the Wawasee sectional. As a freshman, Turner actually had her best tournament performance with a 10th-place score on vault. But that’s the closest she has been, which she vows to turn around this year. Competing with her Tiger teammates is part of her motivation, with a group she says will be fun to be around as well as watch and inspire.
“I wasn’t nervous coming into my freshman year because I competed in club, and it was that way as a freshman and sophomore,” Turner said. “We definitely feed off each other’s support and the energy we have on floor and beam. The younger girls are watching us, and they learn about the support and cheering each other on. That’s been one of the biggest things that has helped our team.”
Warsaw brings a mighty seven gymnasts into the season. Two seniors – Remi Beckham and Anna Wainscott – are entering their fourth year of work with the team to go with Turner’s three. Sophomore Adree Beckham is the other returner. Junior Kaia Hummitch and freshmen Sydni Purvis and Julianne Olson enter their first season of competition with the Lady Tigers, Hummitch having previous club experience and coming over from basketball to give the equipment a go.
The two seniors come in with different approaches. Beckham is a high flier, which is helped by her tall frame and aerial routines. Beckham was the lone Lady Tiger to make the regional last year, getting to Huntington on beam after scoring 8.9 for fifth place at Wawasee. Wainscott, per head coach Tonya Douglass, made big strides her junior season, and was one of the more consistent performers. The younger Beckham, Adree, competed all-around at the sectional and placed 15th overall.
“Both Anna and Remi have been there and done that for us, which is nice with the younger girls,” Douglass said. “Our goal is to go out with solid routines and be the best we can be. We want to be at or over 100 in each meet. I think if we can stay in the 100s, it will put us in the mix for that third spot in the sectionals, or maybe better. I don’t want to rate us too high, because I don’t know everyone else has. But we would love to be in a position to get to the regional as a team this year. I think we have the girls who are preparing for that moment.”
Added Douglass of her supporting cast, “All of our incoming athletes have previous gymnastics experience. In most cases, you’ll have a couple who do and a couple who haven’t done it at a competitive level. And that takes times to get them ready for high school competition. All of them have competed in the USA Gymnastics program and the Kosciusko Kippers.”
Warsaw starts its season January 8 when it visits East Noble.