After years of worrying about scores and making it to state as a club gymnast, Issaquah senior Maya Mandyam is going into her first and last year of high school gymnastics focusing on enjoying the sport she’s done since she was 4 years old.
“I want to have a happy, healthy season,” Mandyam said. “I feel like in club gymnastics, I was focused on making it to state or making it to western nationals and I never really focused on having fun. I want to prioritize that this year.”
Mandyam said she has enjoyed the team-first environment with the Issaquah gymnastics squad.
“I really enjoy the team atmosphere and how everyone supports each other,” Mandyam said. “Everyone just wants to have fun instead of just wanting to win. In high school, you’re competing for your school. Everyone just wants everyone else to do as good as they can. It’s a really nice atmosphere.”
After a long club gymnastics career, Mandyam chose to step away from the competitive realm, but she wasn’t ready to quit gymnastics altogether.
“Throughout those years, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I went to western nationals one year, which was pretty cool, but I also got surgery on my elbow. There were a lot of good and bad things. I would say it has definitely shaped who I am today. It taught me a lot of values like how to work hard.”
Mandyam said she enjoys the more relaxed training schedule of high school gymnastics.
“When I did club gymnastics, It kind of took up my whole life. I didn’t have time for a lot of social activities. So, for my senior year, I wanted to have more fun,” Mandyam said. “I’m spending a lot more time with friends.”
Mandyam has also started rock climbing, a sport that she said has a similar skillset to gymnastics.
“Indoor bouldering is really fun and really exciting,” Mandyam said. “I’m focusing more on school too. I have college applications, so it was nice to actually have time to write them.”
In her first home meet of the season on Jan. 9, Mandyam finished first in the all-around with a score of 36.9. Mandyam finished first on bars (9.5) and beam (9.7) and second on floor (9.45). The Eagles finished third out of the four teams, scoring a season-high team score of 171.1, just 0.6 behind Woodinville.
The Reporter asked Mandyam a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:
What is your favorite movie?
I’d probably say “The Sound of Music.”
Is there a song you’ve been listening to a lot lately?
There’s this one song that I just found, “Please Notice” by Christian Leave. My best friend and I fell in love with it.
Do you have any superstitions?
I have a few. I have to crack my back on the beam, and I like to feel the bars before I compete bars. I knock on wood a lot too.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
I really don’t like when the windshield wipers on your car make that squeaky noise.
What is your dream vacation?
Definitely in the mountains. I’ve gotten into mountain climbing and I climbed Mt. Baker this summer. So I would probably go somewhere in the Himalayas.