Sophomore gymnast Katy Nogaki has already begun to build her legacy after only one year of competition. Nogaki redshirted the 2013 season, but has made significant strides in her first year. In 2014, Nogaki earned All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation recognition on vault after receiving a 9.78 regional qualifying score. Nogaki also tied the UC Davis gymnastics vault record of 9.900, placing her in the history books. This season, she is part of a gymnastics team that has yet to place lower than fourth place in any competition.
How did you first get involved in gymnastics?
I was about six years old and I had a lot of energy. My older cousin was in gymnastics and I went to go see one of her competitions and it went from there. I just fell in love with the sport.
Growing up, did you only focus on gymnastics, or were you playing other sports?
Gymnastics takes up so much time. But, I tried track and field, mainly the 100-yard dash. I also did figure skating for a while.
Why UC Davis?
I wanted to come here, I loved it. I originally wanted to come here to be a veterinarian. That didn’t work out but I still loved the school. I got an email from John [Lavallee, head coach] and I still remember that day. I was freaking out and I wanted to go to [UC] Davis so badly. My second choice was the Air Force Academy, but I was not sure about the whole military life. It just didn’t seem ideal for me. I also got letters from San Jose State, Brown, Eastern Michigan, but I didn’t really look into them cause I wanted to go to [UC] Davis.
Not very many people know about gymnastics; tell me about your competitions and your training.
Pretty much we train 20 hours a week. We do four events vault, bars, beam and floor. I do all three except bars because I have a torn ligament in my shoulder. We just come to the gym, warm up for 45 minutes and do each event for 45 minutes. We switch off between floor and vault because those are very pounding events. Especially for girls at our age, it’s very hard on the body. We’re not learning any new tricks. We are just maintaining what we had coming into college. The last 45 minutes is conditions and stretching.
You have two years left of eligibility after this year, what do you hope to accomplish in the next two years?
It would be really nice to break the school record for vault, but it’s out my control. I’m just going to go to the gym every day and [working hard]. It boils down to helping the team. It’s an individual sport, but you don’t think about yourself, you think about the team.
Who has been your biggest influence?
My faith in God has really helped me through the process. I went through a time where I got really burned out of the sport and didn’t do it for three years. That was really hard for me, it took a lot of faith. It really helped me to get back into the sport.
Which gymnast has inspired you the most and why?
My teammates. I used to train with two girls that were part of the 2012 Olympic team. I would say my sister as well; she was an amazing gymnast. She is super talented and I look up to her so much.
What has been the key to your success as a gymnast?
Nothing to do with my own belief in myself. I tend be really self-critical so I just use my faith and my belief in my teammates to help me help the team and not myself.
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