SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- One local gymnast swept the competition during the Emerald Team Cup Gymnastics Challenge on Saturday and Sunday.
While Kaytianna McMillam’s teammates watched her stunning performances in awe, many found the Emerald Team Cup to be bitter sweet chapter in the team’s history.
Hundreds of gymnasts from all over the country competed at the Willamalane Sports Center in Springfield at the 40th annual, many of them looking up to Kaytianna.
Even when she wasn't competing Kaytianna was cheering on her teammates, like Kylie Reese.
“She knows what to say when you are having a bad day and what motivates us to keep pushing towards our dreams,” Reese said.
With a final score of 39 out of 40, team captain Kaytianna placed first overall in the competition and first in all of her individual events - vault, uneven bars, beam and floor.
“I’m really excited! It was the highest all around I’ve ever gotten,” McMillam said. “It was a really big accomplishment and it is my last home meet so it is kinda a big deal.”
In the coming months, Kaytianna will compete in state, regional and nationals competitions as captain of Churchill High’s gymnastics team before heading to Corvallis with a full-ride gymnastics scholarship to Oregon State University.
“There is the conditioning, the running and cardio, and you have to put in all of the numbers. Physically it is hard. You also have to learn to fit in your school and everything else,” she said.
To compete as a level 10 gymnast, Kaytianna practices five hours every weekday and some Saturdays.
“It is probably the hardest sport out of all the sports. People think we just dance out on the floor but it is a lot more than that,” said teammate Hannah Norman. “I have never seen anyone in my life get a 39, so it was pretty crazy to see her do that.”