By Carlos Jimenez (@carlosjimmenezz)
Taylor Chan made a name for herself as a freshman for the San Jose State gymnastics team, and now she’s preparing for an even greater season her second time around.
Hailing from Coquitlam, British Columbia, Chan came to SJSU as a gymnastics floor specialist.
“I’ve had an opportunity to work with Olympians when I was at Stanford [and] national team members,” said gymnastics head coach Wayne Wright. “Taylor has some of the same qualities and work ethic as some of those athletes.”
In her first year, Chan was one of four Spartans to qualify for NCAA regionals en route to being named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Freshman of the Year.
“It was really exciting,” Chan said. “It was nice to be rewarded for something that I worked hard for.”
Now in her second year, Chan will add bars to her repertoire which upgrades her status to an all-around gymnast.
“[She’s in a] good position to do some damage,” said teammate and beam specialist Michelle Shalit.
Chan’s offseason has been centered around building her confidence in her bar routine for the upcoming season which starts on Jan. 8.
“It’s been a lot of work,” Chan said. “[Bars] is definitely my weakest event but I’m working my butt off.”
Wright and Shalit believe Chan’s transition has been smooth and that she’s always been capable of doing bars. She just needed more time.
As far as the feared “sophomore slump” goes, Chan knows that a lot is expected of her this season but concern for regression is non-existent.
“There is a little bit of pressure,” Chan said, “But if I just have fun and do what I did last year — which is take everything in — I’ll be fine.”
Competing in every event provides Chan with more opportunity to showcase her record-breaking talent and growth.
“She understands what needs to be done,” Wright said on the upcoming season. “What it takes to be a champion.”
While Chan’s individual performance will garner a lot of attention this season, she is focused on the team’s main goal which is to qualify for regionals as a whole.
The team’s other goal is to defend its title as MPSF Champions. Prior to last year’s championship, the Spartans won the title back in 2004.
In the MPSF Championship, Chan was the co-champion of the MPSF floor title with a score of a 9.800. Early on last year, she also won a beam title with a score of 9.850.
Chan’s performance helped the Spartans score a 195.925 in the MPSF championship, which tied the school record set by the 2004 championship team.