We recently caught up with Emily Schild, a senior elite from Everest Gymnastics in North Carolina. Schild has enjoyed an extremely successful career thus far, representing the U.S. at the 2015 and 2016 Jesolo Trophy competitions and the 2015 Pan American Games. In this interview, she discusses her training, favorite memories, and her final season in elite before heading to Georgia to compete in NCAA.

Inside Gymnastics: How is your training going?
Emily Schild: My training is going really well. I have not been training any new skills; [I’m] just trying to perfect my current skills right now. But I am adding more connections to my beam routine.

Inside: How have the national team camps been going?
Emily: National team camps have been great; [it’s been a] very easy transition from Martha to Valeri. Both coaches just want the best for every athlete they train.

Inside: So tell us about your senior career so far. What have been some highlights that really stand out to you?
Emily: [My main] highlight in elite has been 2015 Pan Ams in Toronto, Canada, [which was] a big goal of mine. Another goal I’ve achieved was Olympic Trials. Being there and competing in front of everyone was a wonderful experience.

Inside: When will your next competition be?
Emily: I don’t know yet. March is Italy, and I’m hoping to make that international assignment, [along with] Classics in July and P&Gs in August.

Inside: What are your main goals for 2017?
Emily: My main goals for 2017 are to make an international assignment, and to hopefully stay in the top five or six in the senior rankings so I can be considered for Worlds. But you know, there are a lot of wonderful juniors that are coming up in the senior rankings this year. Jordan Chiles, Morgan Hurd, and Trinity Thomas are just a few. It’s hard to believe I’m one of the oldest gymnasts at camp. Many of my friends from national team camps have gone on to rock NCAA.

Inside: What are you most looking forward to in NCAA gymnastics?
Emily: I am looking forward to the team aspect of college gymnastics and all the fun that goes with college life. My NCAA gymnastics goals are helping Georgia win a SEC title and a National Championship, and my school goals would be to balance gymnastics while getting good grades.

Inside: What are some of your favorite memories from the past few years and those competitions?
Emily: My favorite memory, that’s hard. I have so many great memories. Naturally, it would be getting invited to the Pan Am selection camp, making the Pan Am team and going to Toronto, earning a team gold medal and staying in the Pan Am village with Megan [Skaggs], Rachel [Gowey], Amelia [Hundley], and Maddie [Desch]; it was just a blast. Making it and competing at Olympic Trials in front of thousands of people ranks as a top memory also.

Inside: At this point, do you think that you might go on for Tokyo 2020?
Emily: Never say never, but probably—no. I turn nineteen this year, so I am heading off to college, and then after college I’ll probably be done competing.

Inside: Who are some of the gymnastics you have admired most?
Emily: Kyla Ross is one of them. She was extremely nice to me when I made it into the senior level. Also, Lexie Priessman; she’s at LSU now, but she has been a really good friend. When I had some tough days, she would call me or text me and say, “You know, it is okay. I’ve had those days too, and we can get through this together.”

Inside: So how does it feel now that you’re one of the older competitors and some of the younger girls are looking up to you?
Emily: It just feels amazing. I look back at myself looking up to Kyla and Lexie, and remember thinking “I hope I can do that someday.” Now it’s my turn. I hear myself telling the juniors on the team right now, “You can do it, be confident you can push through it, [with] mental toughness you can get there.” I hope I have made a difference and helped younger elites at camp.

Inside: What is your favorite apparatus?
Emily: My favorite event is bars. I just like swinging and flying high through my transitions from high to low bar.

Inside: What are some of your favorite things outside of gymnastics?
Emily: I don’t really have a lot of time outside the gym; I have one last semester of online high school, but I enjoy staying active, whether it’s hanging with friends, or learning a new sport. I learned how to play golf a few years ago, and my neighbor is actually on the U.S. canoeing and kayaking team. The team is based out of Charlotte, NC. He really wants me to learn how to kayak, and I told him, “When I’m finished with gymnastics!”

Inside: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Emily: I just want to finish by saying thank you to everyone in my life who’s supported me during my J.O. and elite career. To my parents and coaches…for their endless love and support, especially my physical therapist, Cheryl, who has been keeping my body strong and fit, and also my teammates at Everest, they’ve inspired me in the gym every day. A special thanks to my fans for staying with me through the ups and downs of my career.

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Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: https://annarosejohnson.contently.com