GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Four feet off the ground and with only four inches of space to find your footing, the balance beam in gymnastics tests high-level gymnasts. For Kaelyn Tally, a level 9 gymnast at Motion Matrix in Grants Pass, her balance and overall skill in the gym punched her ticket to the Western nationals this weekend.
She's the first Motion Matrix gymnast to reach that level with her sights set on even loftier goals. But even beyond just the success in the gym, Tally is able to find balance outside of it, too. The North Valley High School senior is a 4.0 student while also coaching young gymnasts at Motion Matrix. Being a gymnast has taught Tally how to manage her time and succeed at everything she does.
"I've really learned how to take things one step at a time rather than focus on the big picture and stress myself out," Tally said.
Her success in multiple facets of life is no surprise to her coaches at Motion Matrix. Casey Chandler, a former Team USA gymnast and one of Tally's coaches, says the drive and success he sees from Tally is the same one he saw from fellow teammates.
"Most successful gymnasts are successful in almost every area of their life," Chandler said. "Like they're just born that way, they're born with a drive to succeed and not just settle with ok."
At the recent Region 2 Championships, Tally placed third in the vault, fourth on floor and fifth in all-around. The Western Nationals are set to begin on May 7 in Coralville, Iowa. Her coaches believe she's laying the groundwork for more successful gymnasts to come out of the Motion Matrix program.
"Her setting the bar and the tone for all the girls at the gym and then them seeing that bar and going above that and everyone else seeing that bar and succeeding above that, it's like she's starting a domino effect in a positive manner to forward everyone's careers, not just her's," Chandler said.
"She's just a bright, bright star when it comes to what she expects of herself, what she's willing to give to others and I feel super proud that I've been able to be a little part of that along the way," Rachel Guevara, Tally's coach for nearly 12 years, said.
No matter what the results from Western Nationals are, Tally already has a plan for what's next. She's going to attend Rogue Community College and work towards her Level 10 gymnast status with the ultimate goal of competing on a college gymnastics team.
"I'm hoping to go to a collegiate gymnastics team, wherever that is, that's for the future to decide, but I'm really just hoping to get some college experience under my belt because I'd really just like to do that, I think it'd be super fun," Tally said.
"To see her go off to college and see her, wow, that would be the top of the mountain," Chandler said.
It will take plenty of drive, determination and balance to reach that mountain top, but Tally has proven that's no problem for her.