John Cheng/USA Gymnastics
Erin Macadaeg competes at the Gymnastics Secret Classic Meet in Chicago last weekend, where she finished 9th.
For those that are good at math, and more particularly gymnastics mathematics, here’s a good question: how does one make up half a point and hence, reach a dream?
If you’re Redwood Shores’ Erin Macadaeg, the answer lies in another number: eight — as in eight hours in the gym, multiplied by seven days a week divided by one eventual trip to Chicago, Ill.
Macadaeg, a soon-to-be senior at Carlmont High School, is in the midst of preparing for the 2013 USA Gymnastics Championships in Hartford, CT in about two weeks thanks in large part to answering her own question at the end of last year’s USA Gymnastics Secret Meet. It was there that Macadaeg came within a half point of qualifying for the championships.
“My routines weren’t as strong,” Macadaeg said. “I knew I needed upgrades. I needed to increase the difficulty and make them harder.”
So Macadaeg headed back to San Mateo Gymnastics and, under the watchful eye of Armen Astoian and Oksana Bystrova, got to work on the routines she felt would propel her towards her lifelong dream — competing in the USA Gymnastics Championships. “They’re always very supportive of me,” Macadaeg said of her coaches. “They keep me calm at competitions and always keep me focused toward my goals.
“I’m just so determined to be the best I can be,” Macadaeg said. “My long-term goal is to compete at nationals in college.”
Macadaeg has enjoyed substantial success at the elite gymnastics level and 2012 marked a renewed sense of focus for the Scot. After landing within a point of her championship meet goal, she accepted a scholarship to compete for Louisiana State University of the South Eastern Conference.
With her college future set, Macadaeg focused on a run at Hartford.
She started strong in Chicago, with a bronze medal routine in the balance beam. Macadaeg was the first gymnast to compete and held on to that third place spot.
“It was a little nerve wrecking to go first in the first event,” Macadaeg said. “But I stayed pretty calm. It was a different environment for me. It was really exciting ... to have the whole arena watching. I had no idea it was going to be like that either so it was such a big surprise.”
With the spotlight on Macadaeg, the newcomer, she went about putting together a qualifying performance. She went on to the floor exercise, her favorite event because she “gets to perform,” and placed eighth.
“I told myself I had prepared enough for this,” Macadaeg said. “I just had to stay confident the whole time.”
Her confidence was tested in the vault, where she failed to place, and then on the bars, where a mistake sent doubts to her head.
The qualifying score for the USA Gymnastics Championships was 54.00.
And once Macadaeg finished her bar routine, it became a waiting game. Would it be another year where she’d fall .half-a-point short of her goal?
The wait was over — 54.05.
“I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh. I made it,’” Macadaeg said. “I was really happy. I was really excited. I was speechless. There was nothing to say.”
With her 54.05 in hand, Macadaeg heads to Hartford from Aug. 15 to 18 where she’ll compete against the nation’s best, before beginning her senior year at Carlmont.