After a crazy weekend at J.O. Nationals, only a few gymnasts left victorious, taking first-place all-around in their age group. Chloe Widner of Texas Dreams gymnastics took first all-around in the Senior F category. She also placed well in each event, taking first on floor with a 9.850, first on beam with a 9.675, second on vault with a score of 9.900, and tied for fourth on bars with a 9.700. These four high scores gave her an all-around of 39.125 and won her first place!
Widner is a 2019 graduate, and next year she heads to Stanford to compete in NCAA. We talked to her about nationals, her future at Stanford, and her being finally finished with club gymnastics.
FloGymnastics: Were you nervous at all going into nationals this weekend?
Chloe Widner: A little bit, just because it was my last meet and I wanted to make it, you know, a good last meet, I didn’t want to go out bad. That was mostly where the nerves came from, so just a little bit nervous.
Did you have any expectations or goals for the competition?
My goal was just to, I had a good regionals meet too, and my goal was just to either match that or do better!
FloGymnastics note: Chloe took first on every event at regionals as well as first all-around, but performed even better at nationals, raising her all-around score from a 39.075 at regionals to a 39.125 at nationals.
How did it feel to take first not only all-around, but on beam and floor as well, especially as this is your senior season?
Yeah, it was really exciting. I’m glad it all came together.
What is the most difficult event for you to compete, and which is the most fun to compete?
I’d say the most difficult for me to compete is bars, just because over the years it’s been the hardest for me to get skills on and stuff, so especially this year, being able to put together a routine with high-level skills and confidence has just been a work in progress. My favorite to compete right now is probably floor.
What was your favorite memory from your senior season?
I’d probably say at nationals. So we ended on floor, and right after my floor routine I turned to my coach and started crying, because I knew it had been a good day, and that was it, and kind of all the emotions came out right then. It was just a sweet moment between me and my coach.
Do you have any silly rituals or superstitions you do before a competition?
I used to wear the same leo the practice before, but I broke that this year. I’m trying to get rid of superstitions, but I always wear the same bun in my hair when I compete. I’ve done it since like level 4.
How does it feel to be done with club gymnastics?
It’s kind of sad, just because my whole life has been like that, but I’m really excited for college, the new challenges and new friendships, and all that that will come with it.
So you’re committed to Stanford next year. What are you most excited for in that new adventure?
Yeah, I’m really excited about new friendships, but I’m also excited especially at Stanford, all the new opportunities I’ll be able to have, academically and athletically.
How would you say going to Texas Dreams has shaped you as a gymnast?
Working with Kim and Chris has been really great. They’re definitely different coaching styles, but they’ve really helped me to be able to take ownership of my gymnastics. At this point, I’m old enough and have done it long enough that I know most of the time what I’m doing wrong and they’ve really helped me to realize like, “OK, this is what I need to fix, let me go fix that,” instead of having to be told every single turn. They’ve really helped me grow.