HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 2019 NCAA women’s gymnastics championships were held in Fort Worth, Texas last weekend and one Hawaii gymnast stole the show.
Oregon State junior Maela Lazaro earned second team All-American honors on the balance beam after placing sixth overall with a score of 9.8875.
The 2016 Moanalua graduate grew up doing gymnastics since the age of six at Rainbow Gymnastics in Aiea and has competed in many different capacities for the Beavers this past season.
The All-American distinction is gratifying, as Lazaro had high expectations coming into her Junior season.
“The start of my junior year, I kind of made a goal for myself to be an All-American on the beam,” Larazo said. “I’ve always had the All-American title on my mind but I never expected it from myself and I just took everyday day-by-day.”
Through hard work and perseverance, Lazaro continued to work toward her goal and now after a 15-year journey, she’s become one of the best in the country.
She was given the distinction after her performance this past weekend at Nationals placing in the Top Eight of the competition.
“It was super cool, people were telling me you made All-American," Lazaro said. "It was just so crazy and so surreal because I put it out there and spoke it into existence from the start of my junior year and to be able to finish my junior season as an All-American is super cool.”
Athletics is just one area in which Maela excels as a member of the Oregon State 'Ohana.
She’s made the honor roll every term since starting at Oregon State and has been named a Women’s Scholastic All-American the last three seasons.
Despite the fact that Lazaro often finds herself competing thousands of miles away from home, Hawaii is never far from her heart or her thoughts.
“For my beam music it’s ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’,” Lazaro said. “Whenever it plays, it really just brings me back home and reminds me of where I came from and it helps me focus.”
Maela is currently on track to graduate and is enrolled in the Early Pharmacy Program at Oregon State University. She hopes to become a pharmacist following her gymnastics career.