Pac-10 Q&A with Sophia Hocini, California Gymnastics

Feb. 19, 2009


One on One with Sophia Hocini

Hocini finished ninth in the all-around at the 2008 NCAA West Regional, posting a then-career-high score of 38.700 to lead the Golden Bears. The score tied for the second best all-around score of the season for Cal. In her 2009 campaign, Hocini last week earned her highest score on any apparatus this season on the floor exercise (9.825) in a dual meet against Arizona State. To date, she has posted the top all-around score for the Bears in four of their five meets, including a new career best of 38.800 against UCLA. Courtesy of calbears.cstv.com. Sophia gives a shout-out to her family and her teammates.

What I’m reading... Well I’ve mostly been reading my physiology book lately. I just finished assigned reading about sodium and potassium channels. I am a biology major, and the class - Survey of Physiology - is an upper-division requirement for the major. With regard to more enjoyable reading, I’m considering re-reading the final Harry Potter book because I liked it so much the first time around. I’m really excited about the next Harry Potter movie coming to theaters this summer!
What my sights are set on after college... I came to Cal knowing that I wanted to study something that pertained to science. On several occasions I have considered pursuing medicine, but I’m still not certain if becoming a doctor is my career objective. I know that I do want to attend graduate school, most likely for the study of medicine or physical therapy. Before enrolling in graduate school, though, I hope to defer academics for a year to visit family in France. My family is Algerian, so many of my relatives live in the southern part of France. But I do have some connections in the city [Paris]. I anticipate that the year will combine travel and work; I’ve heard it’s fun to get an odd job when living abroad, something totally random from your domestic interests. Map of France
Something about me that others would be surprised to hear... I am way more superstitious than I let on. I have a very lucky pair of shorts that I wear when working out. I think I wore them out two years ago! I’m not quite sure how they became lucky;  several years ago I had a great day while wearing those shorts, and ever since I’ve just worn them when I need it to be a good day. I also wear the same set of hair clips in every meet. And I own a hippo magnet that hangs in my locker. Before each meet - and only before meets - I rub the hippo. But my superstitions do not extend to astrology; I hardly know my sign!
My biggest pet peeve... The careless grammar and spelling mistakes that people write in emails or letters really annoy me. If you are writing more than a casual note to someone, spell check! I find it hard to focus on content when careless errors fill the page. Probably the most aggravating error is the mix-up between their/there/they’re.
The funniest members on the Cal gymnastics team... That’s a tough one. The Golden Bears gymnastics squad is comprised of many different funny people. I think Avery [Gee] and Bridgette [Glass] are pretty hilarious. They have several quirky moments in the gym - quirky, not comic.
The sport I’m worst at... Any sport that requires a ball and/or aim. For instance, I would be terrible at archery. I love watching ball sports, but it’s better for everyone if I’m in the stands instead of on the field. Archery
Talent I’d most like to have... I would love to have any type of musical talent: vocal ability, guitar or piano proficiency, etc. If I could sing I would definitely specialize in country music. I make no guarantees that I would sound good, but I really like that genre. Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, and Taylor Swift are my top three picks for country artists. I actually listen to McGraw’s How Bad do You Want It to get fired up before a meet. Tim McGraw album cover
Best community outreach experience... Last semester our team participated in the athletic department’s Come to College Day. Second- through seventh-grade students from low income elementary and middle school districts visited campus for a day of games, mentoring, and tours. We played several board games with the students and spoke with them about college opportunities. We want to positively influence the paths they choose to follow in their futures.  I connected particularly well with a third-grade girl who wanted to be the center of attention, whether through humor, an ice cream eating competition, or just having the most gymnasts around her at all times!
Love to trade places for a day with... Oprah [Winfrey]. She has a huge influence on society. It would be interesting to spend a day in her shoes to learn how one person can make such a tremendous difference. I am inspired by her philanthropic efforts; even her annual Favorite Things show is a terrific example of large giving to a random group of people with extremely diverse backgrounds. Oprah Winfrey
Best advice I’ve ever received... My dad has always motivated me to “stick it out amidst hard times.” His point is that there will always be difficult stages and challenges, whether in gymnastics or life, during which you want to quit and walk away. But if you push yourself through the tough times and allow yourself to get over the hurdle, you’ll find glory and happiness right around the corner.
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