At just 13 years of age, Avery Roy might not yet possess the full scope of life experiences that would allow her to enjoy a measured perspective on all of her achievements in gymnastics.
For now, the talented representative of the Sudbury Laurels will have to be content with relying on those in her support group to confirm that her cracking the Ontario Team Tour Selection roster recently is a big deal; a really, really big deal.
“My coach, she started crying; my mom started crying,” Roy explained, recalling the setting just a few weeks back as the Level 7 gymnast became the first from Sudbury since 2015 (when Kayla Folz was named) to earn a spot on the roster that will travel to Phoenix (Arizona) in January.
“I didn’t cry,” added Roy, with a smile.
The fact that the grade 8 student at Valley View Public School finish second overall in a bracket (Level 7 - 14+) that included no less than eighty competitors and would accomplish this in her very first attempt at tryouts, pitted against a majority of athletes who are older than her only adds to the scope of this feat.
It also didn’t hurt that regardless of the outcome, Roy was going to walk away with something to strive for.
“Julie’s plan (coach Julie McEwen) was to have me compete at Level 7 and if I didn’t make the team, then we’re going to try and get me to Level 8 (this year),” said Roy. “So I was excited with either one.”
That level of excitement only grew over the course of the day as Roy continued to check off the scores that were going to put her solidly in contention for a coveted Team Ontario berth.
“I got a really good score on the beam and felt really good,” she stated, getting her session started off on the right foot. “Then I scored really well on the floor too and I knew that vault was my strongest event. I think once I got beam over, my least favourite event, and went to my favourite events, it just got better and better.”
“After my bar scores came in, I kind of knew where I was sitting.”
While Roy has been one to watch for a few years now, the truth is that she is a much different gymnast and athlete now than when she made her debut on the competitive side of the sport as a precocious five or six year old.
“I used to be really good at beam and now I am really good at vault,” she suggested. “I’ve gotten more powerful, which really helps my vault – but I’m a little less flexible.”
“I feel like this is better because the power can help get me more skills and I have a lot more height than I used to – and I am still able to work on my flexibility and can still get a lot better at it. But it is tough to be really flexible and have a lot of power.”
Physically, Avery Roy was ready to take the next step. Mentally, she is still learning about all that goes into achieving that proper mindset that strikes a balance between confidence and a healthy awareness of the competition.
“Once I knew I had qualified, I was so excited – but the night before, I saw so many gymnasts and they looked so strong and it made me a bit nervous.”
With the Team Ontario meet scheduled for the same weekend as the first Gymnastics Ontario qualifier of the season for the Laurels’ Women’s Artistic team, the talkative teen will work on the more minute details of each of her four routines, knowing that a jump to Level 8 awaits at the end of the 2023-2024 season.
“I’m just trying to make everything a bit cleaner: focus on my dance to make sure I am not wobbling or anything; make sure I have straight legs, pointy toes, and straight arms on my tumbles; maintain good body shapes. I am not going to give away points for that.”
In the meantime, Roy will appreciate the moment as much as a still growing 13 year old can.
“So many people tried out – and it’s Team Ontario,” she said. “And we get to go to the States.”