Q&A With Kelly McDonald

Oct. 11, 2005

Kelly McDonald is the lone senior on the Husky Gymnastics Team. She recently sat down with gohuskies.com to talk about her role on the team and this upcoming season.

GoHuskies.com: You're the only senior on the team so how does that feel? Have you taken a leadership role at all?

Kelly McDonald: I definitely feel like I've taken a leadership role, being the oldest, being here the longest. I'm a co-captain with Chelsea Bakken so that's another way that I was put into a leadership position. I feel like I can help out the freshmen and all the underclassmen just by sharing my experiences competing at the college level and working out at the college level because it's different than club which is what they're used to.

GH: To go back a little bit, what did you do over the summer as for training? Also what about for fun, did you get vacation time?

KM: I did. Summer's all optional work out so you're expected to come in ready to go, in shape, with your skills, but I actually got surgery in May so I was recovering over the summer for that. I took a week off and went to Lake Chelan with my family and that was really fun. I went to New York for five days; I have an older sister over there so I took a little vacation there. I came in the gym a lot and worked on rehab for my foot and strength too.

GH: What kind of surgery did you get exactly?

KM: It was on my heel and I got surgery last summer for heel pain and it never went away from that surgery and it had been a year. So a year and four days later I got surgery again where they rounded off my heel bone more because my achilles was rubbing against it and causing the pain so they shaved that down and hopefully that will solve the problem.

GH: How have the first few weeks of practice been with the new freshmen and everything new?

KM: They've been good; it's always some adjusting. This is our first preseason with a new assistant coach too, so it's another adjustment with that. Things have been a little different just with the new coach because Frank did most of our preseason strength and conditioning before so we're following pretty much the same plan with just a little alteration here and there. Just with new people there's always new personalities, so just getting used to the new personalities on the team. It was fun we had a team retreat to Chelan for a weekend where you get to know everybody, and team bonding. We did the Olympics! It was fun.

GH: Any highlights of that weekend?

KM: Well this year Raimey brought a karaoke machine, so that was fun! We got to see everybody cut loose with that. It's always entertaining seeing gymnasts trying other sports because we are not gifted in all other sports, so it's always interesting.

GH: How do you think the team is meshing so far then?

KM: Right, I think it's great. I think the personalities here really go well with each other. There's no girl drama so far that's corrupting the team at all and it doesn't seem like we'll have any of that. I think it's just a bunch of sisters that see each other every day.

GH: So, you've competed all around in the past and with your surgery and everything what are you planning on competing this year?

KM: Well I'll be doing bars for sure because I can do that right now, 100 percent. With my foot I'm still waiting to the six-month point from my surgery, I'm at a little over four months and they told me six-month recovery. I'm still waiting to see how it feels, I have some pain sometimes which prevents me from doing events right now, but hopefully at least during season I'll be able to work my way up to all around. That's my goal.

GH: What have you been doing to get healthy and what will you do to stay healthy once you get to that point?

KM: I'm working with my trainer a lot, I come in every day to see her and I get ultrasound and do strength exercises. It's really interesting relearning how to walk and relearning how to run because my leg has been used to holding back, or changing my gate to compensate for the pain, and I need to remember how to walk normally. It's very mentally challenging as well as physically challenging. So I'm doing that and once I get healthy I need to really concentrate on taking smart turns, not overdoing it on my foot and not pushing it back into that pain stage.

GH: What are your personal goals for the season besides getting up to that point, like if for example you can get to that point, what would be your ultimate goal?

KM: I'm a very competitive person and I want our team to win everything that we enter. So, I want to get to nationals, I want to win Nationals! If that's possible at this point is going to be seen, but that's my goal. Personally I want to get a ten on bars because I know I can compete bars for sure and I would love to qualify to Nationals on any event that I do compete.

GH: Have you gotten a ten before?

KM: Yeah, I've gotten a ten on vault so, now that that's out, I need to get one on bars!

GH: Do you think as a whole the team probably has the same goals, to make it to Nationals?

KM: We've definitely talked as a team, with coaches and just with the teammates, about our goals and how to get there, and the goal is Nationals. And we've come close every year I've been here so we've just got to take that last step at the end of the season, and keep people healthy until then, and really keep the intensity up all the way through.

GH: How does it feel to be going into your senior year? Did it go by fast here?

KM: Definitely! Everyone says it flies by and it's so true. I can't believe that I'm almost done and this is it, you can count my practices.

GH: So what would the perfect last season look like for you?

KM: I would be healthy, competing all four events, with this team is great, we'd go to Nationals, and in the perfect ending we would win!

GH: What are you majoring in and do you have any plans for next year yet?

KM: Yeah, I do. I'm in the international business program and I'm doing a study abroad next year in Spain. So that's the plan to go for the whole year.

GH: Anything else you'd like to add about gymnastics?

KM: Go Dawgs!

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