Raegan Walker, who trains at SCEGA in Temecula, California, has been a standout in the J.O. ranks over the past couple of years. She competed in the 2018 Nastia Liukin Cup, where she finished first on bars and third in the all around. She is also the 2018 J.O. National runner-up on bars. Walker is committed to attend Yale in the fall and is sure to be a key contributor for the Bulldogs, who have steadily been rising over the last few seasons.
We had a chance to talk to her about why she chose Yale, how the recruiting process differs from other schools and how the recovery from an Achilles injury she suffered earlier this year is going.
In the lead up to the 2019 season, we’re talking to future collegiate stars with our new Where Are They From series. Learn more about incoming freshmen, standout J.O. champions and current elites before they don their school colors and compete for the first time in college.
Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.
College Gym News: What is your favorite event and why?
Raegan Walker: My favorite event is beam, while bars is definitely a close second. Out of all four events, beam comes most naturally to me. I love that I am able to showcase my flexibility, strength and grace all in one event.
CGN: You were committed to a different school previously. Why did you make the decision to switch to Yale?
RW: I decided to commit to Yale because of its academic excellence alongside the opportunity to continue my passion for gymnastics. While this decision was definitely not the easiest, I have no regrets. The realization that my gymnastics career will end after four years in college while my intellectual experiences will continue for the rest of my life played a large role in my decision.
CGN: What is the process for being recruited to an Ivy League school? How is it different from the other schools you considered?
RW: The recruitment process for Yale differed from any other college I considered mainly in that I had to be accepted into the university before I was officially committed. This meant I had to really focus on meeting the academic requirements, for example SAT scores, AP/IB classes and my high school GPA. While the process was tough, I was determined to meet the requirements to attend this amazing school.
CGN: You suffered an injury that caused you to miss the end of your J.O. season. How is your recovery going? Do you expect it to impact your training or even your first college season at all?
RW: I suffered from a completely ruptured Achilles tendon injury in February of 2019. This was my most devastating injury out of my entire 14-year gymnastics career. Not only did it result in surgical repair, but my last J.O. gymnastics season was instantly over. However, my recovery is going extremely well with the support of my family, physical therapists, coaches and teammates. I look forward to this coming season.
CGN: What are you most looking forward to about competing for Yale?
RW: I look forward to contributing the most I can for the Yale gymnastics team to attain our competition season goals. I am excited to work hard for my team to ensure we win the Ivy Classic and ECAC championship. I am thrilled to compete alongside my future teammates and to have fun doing the sport I love.
CGN: Who are some of your role models in gymnastics?
RW: I have always looked up to Dominique Dawes and Kyla Ross. They are both talented gymnasts and inspiring individuals.Their poise, strength and maturity are captivating, which motivates me to train even harder in the gym.
Article by Mary Emma Burton
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