When Cora Taylor was just 4 years old, her parents had to decide what to do with their child.
“I’d just climb all over the house, be bouncing around all the time. They’re like, ‘Gotta get this kid out of here doing something,’” Taylor said with a laugh before training with her Bothell High gymnastics squad on a recent afternoon.
Cascade Elite Gymnastics in Mountlake Terrace was the spot for Taylor to let loose and compete, which she did for the club up to Level 9.
These days, the Cougar junior is focused just on high school gymnastics and she made a major impact on the 4A state scene last season by finishing first on the bars at Sammamish High.
“I would never trade this experience for anything. I love gymnastics,” she said. “You get to flip around and do cool stuff.”
Following her top 9.650 score at state on bars, Taylor added: “I feel like I have a little bit to live up to, but I think I’m doing well. I just gotta keep working hard.”
Taylor, who had surgery for a severe elbow disease when she was 12, competed on just bars and beam last season and has added the vault and floor to her repertoire this time out.
“She’s an absolute joy to coach,” said head coach Traci Sitzmann, who doesn’t push Taylor beyond her capacity after the surgery, she added. “When she wants something, I just plant a seed and let her sit on it, let her water it and she kind of just does her thing. She will take it and she will push herself.”
Now competing all-around, Taylor had won three KingCo competitions at press time with scores in the 36-point range. The team had notched a 3-2 league record at press time with a high score of 163.05, and there’s room to grow on that mark, Sitzmann said. Also shining for the Cougars are Angelina Fogliato, Emma Dennison and Katie Kaleta.
Taylor is especially thrilled to tackle the vault again and work on her Tsuk flip.
“It’s fun. It definitely gives me good memories of my club gymnastics days. I competed that vault for a long time, so it feels really good to do it again,” she said, adding that it takes heaps of determination to nail it.
On beam, a ton of mental strength comes into play to overcome the fear of competing in the tough event, said Taylor, who likes a quiet atmosphere during her routine. She knows that her teammates are all watching and supporting her during the event.
As for floor, Taylor said her routine is “very bouncy.”
Her parents can definitely attest to that.
The Reporter asked Taylor a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:
What’s your favorite restaurant in the Bothell area?
Amaro Bistro, by far. Italian restaurant, it’s great.
What’s your favorite kind of music?
I like electronic music, like upbeat dance kind of music.
Who’s your gymnastics idol or role model?
Well, of course, Simone Biles, ‘cause she’s like the greatest gymnast of all time.
If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?
There’s this one rapper, his name is NF. I would go to dinner with him, he’s super cool.
What’s a special skill that you’d like to learn?
Right now, I play the violin, and I’d love to learn how to play the cello, which is completely different.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
When people walk really slow, it’s very annoying.
Do you have any kind of a specific routine that you do before meets?
I have this little plushy bear that I got in 2012 when I was a Level 5, so I was really young. That bear has gone with me to every single club meet I did and a majority of the high school meets, so I take that bear with me.
What super power would you like to have?
I’d like to fly so then I don’t have to drive to work.
What motivates you each day?
I just know that I always wanna get better and do something each day, and not just waste my time.