Handstands and hard work pay off

Gymnast Katie Taylor is passionate about what she does and wishes to take her skills to a higher level.


Courtesy of Katie Taylor

Taylor demonstrates her skills and dedication to gymnastics while on the bar.

By Sophie Thompson

By the end of the day, a majority of the students at Huntley High School are waiting for the clock to hit 2:26 p.m. in excitement for their freedom after sitting in classes all day long.

Although this may be exciting for most, junior Katie Taylor is hard at work after school, already at Gymnasti Gymnastics in Carol Stream by the time students are quickly running towards the parking lot.

Taylor began her journey as a gymnast when she was 5 years old, starting recreational classes at HUGS Gymnastics in Huntley. She has been doing gymnastics for 11 years since starting at HUGS and eventually went to Crystal Lake Gymnastics Training Center where she was coached by her former coach, Lee Battaglia.

“She is a very talented gymnast- she takes corrections well and is highly intelligent,” Battaglia said.

Taylor and Battaglia are still in contact, as they work on private lessons frequently.

In June, Taylor moved to a new gymnastics center, Gymnasti Gymnastics. Gymnasti is about 45 minutes away from Huntley. She practices five days a week: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Her practices span for about four hours each day.

After she arrives at Gymnasti, she heads to the locker room and mentally prepares for the practice ahead of her. At Gymnasti, she has the freedom to have water breaks whenever needed, but she is not allowed to take long breaks.

“Mondays and Thursdays you do floor, bars and beam. On Tuesdays and Fridays we do vault, bars and beam, so you do bars and beam every day,” Taylor said.

Being a Level 10 gymnast, Taylor is required to meet a certain skill point and excel in certain skills for each event. Taylor can do a Gienger, a handstand, twist, release skill off of uneven bars and a Yurchenko full. If Taylor were to improve in upcoming years, the next level she would compete at would be at an Olympic level.

“Her floor is incredible. She’s a very powerful gymnast; doing double backs and working with me on twisting double [fulls],” Battaglia said.

Although Taylor is a strong gymnast, she struggles physically with issues with her back, causing her to attend physical therapy once a week. In order to work through these struggles, she relies on her best friend, Thea Scheuer.

“I help her when she is having a bad practice,” Scheuer said. “I made her laugh or happy to the point where she forgot about all the bad things that happened that day. She is hardworking, passionate, and determined.”

Even though gymnastics may be hard, time-consuming, and tiring, Taylor outshines other competitors and has won plenty of awards.

“I won state twice, I’ve gotten second at state. I went to Eastern Regionals, where I got second on vault and second overall,” Taylor said.

Taylor continues practicing gymnastics in hopes to improve and reach her goal of getting gymnastic scholarships for college.