By Oscar Avevedo:
While the San Jose State gymnastics season has had some highs and some lows, one gymnast has proven to be consistent and shown potential to be a star.
Freshman Taylor Chan has quickly made a name for herself earning her record fifth Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Freshman of the Week award and was named one of SJSU’s Athletes of the month for February.
Off the mat, Chan is humble and eager to learn from her teammates but when competing, you’ll be challenged to find a tougher gymnast with cooler head.
“You need to stay on, you need to fight for this … for the team, everything is for the team.,” Chan said.
The Canada native competes on the balance beam, floor and vault events and originally trained at TAG Gymnastics in Coquitlam, British Columbia. Last year, she won the 2016 Sandra Hartley Athlete of the Year Award, an honor given to the highest-ranked novice gymnast in British Columbia.
In Canada, Chan qualified for the Canadian National Championship for seven years straight from 2010-2016. In 2016, she had one of her best performances at the championship while she was ranked fifth in the all-around and fourth on the beam at the CNC.
Chan had already visited San Jose in the past with her family and when the Spartans recruited her, Taylor felt like SJSU was her best opportunity to succeed.
“I just really like the city, it’s very pretty and sunny and it’s close to home,” Chan said.
But the kinesiology major is not just a one-trick pony. Her performances on the floor and vault are just as impressive. She’s hit the highest score all season for each event she competes in, taking a 9.85 on the floor at the Metroplex Challenge and a 9.775 against Sacramento State at the two team’s first clash.
“I know there’s the first home meet we had and I fell on two events,” Chan said. “It crushed me knowing that I’m on those events for a reason and I need to show everybody that I’m there and need to be solid.”
The Spartans have won their last two meets and placed second out of four teams at another event. Chan has been one of the key pieces in this turn around and is quickly becoming a leader on the team.
The 5 foot 3 Chan did not just fall into her success, but credits all-rounder Kaitlin Won as her “big sister” and mentor.
“I look up to her, knowing that she’s an all-around and I could be an all-around next year,” Chan said. “She’s there for me to aspire to.”
The Spartans are midway through their season but aren’t content with stagnation.
“We still have the opportunity to make it to regionals as a team. I think if we work our best, we have the potential to hit 195-plus and I know we can because we can practice it in the gym. We just need to apply ourselves.”