10.0 Spotlight - Tauny Frattone

Jan. 29, 2009

Freshman Tauny Frattone is the featured gymnast in 10.0 Spotlight, which profiles a member of the UCLA gymnastics squad throughout the season. Frattone, who comes from Lake Forest, CA, is a four-time Level 10 National qualifier and three-time State vault champion. Last May, she placed third in the all-around at the 2008 Level 10 National Championships to make the JO National Team. Performing a difficult Yurchenko half-on, piked front off vault, she has averaged 9.825 in exhibition in the Bruins' last three meets.

You're nearly one month into your first season of collegiate gymnastics. Describe how the season has been going for you so far, both as a team and individually.
As a team we have been doing very well, taking those baby steps to win a National Championship. The team is bought-in 100%, which makes competition that much more exciting. Individually, I got off to a little bit of a rough start in Utah, but in the following competitions my vaults have been more consistent.

What has been the biggest surprise for you as far as collegiate competition goes?
The biggest surprise was probably nerves. I thought competitions were going to be a lot more nerve-wracking, but with all the energy from the team, you hardly have time to be nervous.

You had a bit of a late start with things in the gym due to an ankle injury you suffered before you came to UCLA. How is your ankle now, and how up to speed are you on the other events?
My ankle is getting better and better each day. I am back to training everything in the gym, and I am working on cleaning up my other routines, so it is only a matter of time till I am ready to compete everything.

As someone who competes one of the most difficult vaults in collegiate gymnastics, what are your thoughts on the start values of the different vaults in the NCAA? There are some out there who think the Yurchenko full should be devalued ...
I respect the start values of the vaults in the NCAA. I do believe that some diversity in the competition makes for an exciting vault rotation, and while each person performs the Yurchenko full in a different way, it can sometimes seem repetitive. All in all, though, the Yurchenko full is a powerful vault, and there are many gymnasts out there who execute it very well.

Every meet so far, including the meet at Utah, you've had a lot of vocal fan support. Talk about what it's like to have people there cheering for you and what it means to you and the team.
It's amazing! I absolutely love having all my previous teammates and family there supporting not just me but our whole team. The fans are a very big part of our competitions because they help keep the energy up.

What is your favorite event, favorite skill to compete, and skill you most wish to perfect?
My favorite event is vault. My favorite skill to compete is probably my release on bars (piked Jaeger). The skill I most wish to perfect is probably my bail/shoot-over from handstand on bars.

You have one quarter under your belt at UCLA. Do you know yet what you want to major in or what you hope to do as a career?
Currently I am still deciding on a major. I am considering sports medicine or physical therapy.

What is your favorite and least favorite thing about gymnastics?
My favorite thing about gymnastics is being involved with the most difficult sport in the world. Not many people swing around bars and flip on balance beams on a day-to-day basis. My least favorite thing about gymnastics would probably be injuries. Gymnastics is a very grueling sport, and injuries occur often.

What are your interests outside of gymnastics?
I love just being with family and friends. Every Thanksgiving my family goes out to the desert for about five days, and we stay in a trailer and ride motorcycles and ATVs. It's nice to get away from reality for a short amout of time and fully take advantage of nature and family.

What is the best thing about being a Bruin?
Being a part of the most prestigious school in the world and knowing that I will be a success after college.

Lightning round:
What song gets you pumped up to compete?
'I'm In LA Trick'

Favorite singer/band/artist?
Switchfoot

Favorite movie of all-time?
Happy Gilmore

Can't-miss TV show?
Lost and CSI: Las Vegas

Favorite book?
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Favorite website?
UCLA Gymnastics

All-time favorite gymnast?
Nadia Comaneci

What are you addicted to?
Blankets. I probably have enough blankets to keep LA warm.

What was your most memorable gymnastics moment?
Being a part of the National Team and receiving my full scholarship to UCLA!

Describe yourself in one word
Perfectionist

Describe your team in one word
Determined!

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