By Sydney Neuser, Current Staff
Gymnast McKennah Orth, a ninth grader at West Bend East High School, is heading to state in vault, floor, beam and all-around competitions.
This honor follows a season with many highlights, including a single meet where Orth was part of breaking three school records while ending in a tie for another.
At the team’s third meet of the season on Dec. 18, Orth scored 9.425 for her floor routine, besting the old record of 9.375. Her all-around score came out to 36.55 while the former record holder achieved a 35.425. The team floor score ended at 36.125, breaking the record of 35.425. Orth also tied the vault record with a score of 9.3.
Two of those marks didn’t last long. Orth continued to set records throughout the season, including new highs for floor routine (9.475) and all-around (36.55).
Orth’s gymnastics journey began when she was only two years old. She has been competing since she was seven and made the varsity team during her first year of high school gymnastics. She plans to continue gymnastics throughout college.
The Current spoke with Orth about her record-setting season. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Did you expect to break any records that day?
I definitely wasn’t expecting to break any records but I just wanted the whole team to go out and do what we know we can do. That was the first meet I broke a school record at and I’ve kept improving and beating my own records each week.
What influenced you to be a part of gymnastics in the first place?
Gymnastics has been my passion since I could walk and growing up I lived in the gym. Once all my friends joined high school gymnastics, I went to a few meets and saw the atmosphere the team had and I knew I wanted to join the team.
Who is your biggest inspiration when it comes to gymnastics?
Gabby Douglas has definitely been a big inspiration to me. I remember driving to meets and watching her movie on repeat. Her genuine smile and energy she had while competing made me fall in love with watching the sport.
What have you done to grow and improve your skills?
I practice and compete at both West Bend East and at North Shore Academy of Gymnastics every week. I practice six days a week and some days I practice twice a day. It is very hard to balance it all with school but it has helped me grow as a gymnast so much.
What advice would you give to someone just beginning or struggling in a sport?
Gymnastics is not only physical but also very mental so the correct mentality going into practice can make a huge difference. One of my favorite sayings is “E+R=O” and that means, event + response = outcome. Since you can’t change the event, if you change your response it will change your outcome either positively or negatively.
(Top photo: McKennah Orth set a new school record Dec. 18 with an all-around score of 35.45. Orth broke this record a number of times as the season continued, with a high mark of 36.55. Photo courtesy of Jenni Orth.)