10 Questions With Gymnast Sharaya Musser
Sharaya Musser is having a tremendous season for the Penn State women’s gymnastics team. Musser has taken first place in the all-around competition in all seven meets this year. She has also won four Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honors this season. Her ability to perform well on all four individual events has helped Penn State earn the No. 10 ranking, as well as five victories in seven meets. Onward State got a chance to speak with Musser about her season, gymnastics and even dinosaurs.
Onward State: How did you get into gymnastics?
Sharaya Musser: I got into gymnastics when I was three years old. Basically my parents put me in a little recreational class. It just grew from there.
OS: Why did you choose Penn State?
SM: I chose Penn State because Penn State is our family college. My dad went here. My uncle went here, just a lot of relatives. I was raised a Penn State fan. So, it’s basically my dream college. Ever since I was young, I always wanted to come here. It was actually a really easy decision to come to Penn State for me.
OS: You’ve won four Big Ten Gymnast of the Week Awards, and you’ve won the all-around at every meet this season. Would you describe yourself as having a successful season so far?
SM: Yea, I definitely would say its a success, but it’s still early on in the season. There is still much to improve. I’m looking forward to near the end of the season with the bigger competitions like the Big Ten’s, regionals and nationals. I’m really looking forward to those.
OS: What are your goals for those big end-of-the-season meets?
SM: My goals are to win the Big Ten Championships as a team. Also, individually, I won last year, so I’d like to try to that again. Also, for us to qualify for nationals as a team.
OS: As an all-around gymnast, do you have a favorite event?
SM: I do. My favorite event is beam. It’s basically been my favorite event for a while, even when I was back in club. There’s just something about it that I love. When I’m on the beam, I just focus on just me and the beam. I kind of zone everything else around me out.
OS: How much more gym time and training does it take to be an all-around gymnast as opposed to being a specialist at a single event?
SM: It takes obviously a lot more time because you have four events instead of one. It takes longer to get through all four of them. I definitely have to put in a couple more hours of work. I’m not saying that the girls that only do a couple of events don’t work hard. They work hard on their events. When they are done, they stay around and cheer for the rest of us that still have events to complete. I would say that I spend about three hours to three and a half hours per day in the gym. We train four or five days per week depending on the week.
OS: Do your routines stay pretty much the same throughout the year, or do you try to incorporate new skills as the season goes along?
SM: Most of the time, my routines stay the same. We like to keep them the same so that we can perfect them. There are times when we do like to change up a routine, like if you are struggling on a certain skill. We swap it out with one you know you are confident with and you can hit. It definitely varies, but most of the time, routines stay the same.
OS: For those of us not intimately involved with gymnastics, we sometimes wonder about the scoring. With your many years of experience, do you think the judges get the scores right more often than not? Or do you often think you do better than the score a judge gives you.
SM: It’s hard to say. A lot of judges score differently. It depends on the judge. Some judges are known to be tough and hard. Some are known to be lenient. For the most part, scores are pretty accurate. You’ll get those couple meets where you ask, “What was that judge looking at? Was she blind?” But, for the most part, the scores are accurate.
OS: What do you do normally when you’re not training or in the gym?
SM: When I’m not training or in the gym, I’m doing schoolwork! That’s always a fun one. When it’s nice outside, I love going for walks–just kind of getting fresh air. Or, just relaxing, chilling, watching TV. Anything where I can take my mind off, relax my mind and not do so much thinking.
OS: If you could be a dinosaur, what kind of dinosaur would you be and why?
SM: I don’t really of many dinosaurs. What’s the dinosaur with the real long neck?
OS: Brontosaurus, I think.
SM: Yea, that. I’d pick that so I could be really tall and see over everything!