Everyday Champion - Brooke Barclay

Feb. 23, 2009

Everyday Champion - Brooke Barclay

It figures that an interior designer would be a gymnast or is it a gymnast would be an interior designer? Either way senior Brooke Barclay of the eighth-ranked Beavers has shown her creative side excelling at both.

Barclay, a native of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, has nearly a perfect 4.00 cumulative GPA in her endeavors to not only excel athletically on the vault and beam, but also academically where she has been a regular on the Pac-10 All-Academic Team.

'Academic success is basically time management as far as being an athlete goes,' Barclay said. 'You go to practice, you go home, you do your homework, you wake up in the morning and study, you go to class and you go to practice. You don't really have time to think. When you do have time to think and you have extra time, it ends up being, `wow what should I do? I should be studying' and you end up going to the library.'

That basically sums up life for a student-athlete, but it's almost universal that no Beaver athletes would trade the lifestyle; even if it means on top of all of that you have to deal with injuries. For Barclay it has meant the crushing setbacks with knee injuries, but she has endured.

'With my first knee injury (first event as a freshman) I was devastated because I couldn't help the team,' Barclay said. 'Injuries are always discouraging and when you can't compete it's really hard because your whole team is out there on the floor and you are on the sideline. But, everything you go through makes you stronger and helps you drive that much more - I really wanted to get back and prove myself the next year.'

Barclay indeed proved herself by finishing second at the NCAA Regionals in 2007 and she won the beam competition in a meet at Washington. However, another knee injury forced her to miss considerable time last season before returning strong in 2009, where she has had made major contributions to the No. 9 ranked Beavers.

To learn more about this budding interior designer and all around student-athlete who typifies the mission of Oregon State Athletics, please follow the following Q & A.

Q. What drives you to rehabilitate from injury and return to action?A. When you get injured, rehabilitation is the first step to getting back and you want to be out there as soon as you can. With my first knee injury I was devastated because I couldn't help the team. At that moment, I was more focused on the team and how they would finish out the meet, and later it hit me, `wow I am out the whole year'. I really wanted to get back and prove myself the next year.

Q. What is your favorite event?A. My favorite events are beam and vault. Those are the two I compete in. I used to do all four, but I had to give up the floor because of my knee. It goes day-to-day which event I like more, beam or vault, but at the end of the day I can't really say.

Q. Is gymnastics in your future?A. It could be. I want to coach next year since it will be my fifth year and I will be finishing up school. I want to help out with the team by coaching in the gym, and any other ways that I can. As far as after that, I'm not sure if I want to coach or not, I just want to see where it takes me.

Q. Did you have opportunities outside of Oregon State when you were deciding on furthering your education?A. Yes I had other opportunities to continue to gymnastics. I was recruited by Iowa State, Arizona and Washington.

Q. How did Oregon State sell itself to you?A. When I was on my recruiting trip I fell in love with the team and the coaching staff, and I just felt like it was a great atmosphere and community to be in. Once I actually got here my freshmen year I was so excited and knew that it was the right choice - I have never looked back.

Q. What has surprised you most about the campus and community?A. Since I have been here, really the only thing that surprised me was how amazing the school is and how at home I have felt. Since my freshmen year I have always felt like I am at home. I did get homesick from time to time, but I have always loved everyone that is here and the opportunities.

Q. What's the biggest difference from Brooke Barclay as a freshman in 2005 to now?A. The difference between me as a freshman and now is huge. I am much more confident and outgoing. As a freshman, the first time I got hurt I was in the training room a lot of the time and didn't do a lot of communicating with the coaches and the team because they were focused on their season and that stopped me from speaking up as much. Now I'm much more outgoing and I have a lot more confidence in the classroom too.

Q. Do you have a unique pre-meet ritual?A. As a pre-meet tradition, my team always gets together in the hallway and does a lot of cheers. One is a growl where we all stand in a circle and let out the loudest growl noise we can. It just gets us all pumped up to hear the rage in everyone's voice and know that we are all determined to go out there and compete.

Q. What's it like to see a near full Gill Coliseum for your home meets?A. Our fans at Oregon State are amazing. We have way more fans than any other team in the Pac-10. I love competing in Gill because of our crowd. We march in and all the fans are on their feet. It gives you so much adrenaline, but at the same time you know you are appreciated.

Q. What's it like being around your teammates?A. The team in general is very close; everyone on the team is one of my sisters. The team has really become my family. I have trust in everyone on the team in and out of the gym. We are always there for each other.

Q. What has Tanya Chaplin meant to you as a coach?A. Tanya Chaplin is definitely more than a coach. She is amazing as a coach, as a friend and almost as a parent figure. She always wants to make sure everyone gets what they need for their routines or academics.

Q. What got you interested in interior design?A. Interior design interests me because I am a creative person and I have always loved art and design. Growing up I used to rearrange my room every other week because I didn't like how it was. I'm not sure what I want to do with it yet, but I am going to do an internship this summer and hopefully I will be able to decide if I want to do residential or commercial.

Q. What does a full-ride scholarship mean to you?A. Being on scholarship means everything to me. I always wanted to go to college on a full ride for gymnastics and I knew I had to put the work in at the gym my whole life to earn a scholarship. If I didn't have a scholarship I wouldn't be at Oregon State. I would probably be at a community college back home in Coeur d'Alene. So it means a lot to me to be on this team and to be at this school.

Q. How did you get started in gymnastics?A. When I was little I would go to the park with my parents and I would swing and hold on to the ropes of the swing and flip over. There was gravel under the swings and my mom would always freak out that I would get hurt. My mom wanted me to go to the gym where there were mats and I never wanted to leave.

Q. How involved are you in community service?A. Every year Oregon State gymnastics is part of Relay for Life. Last year my roommate was the captain and I helped her out with a lot of the captain duties and getting everything organized. Community service in general is important to our team because we want to give back to the community and to help out.

Q. Describe yourself in a nutshell...A. I love gymnastics. I am driven and passionate about gymnastics and school. Oregon State is my home.

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