Originally published in the Spartan Daily March 16, 2010: Click here for link
When Jessica Khoshnood, Gabrielle Targosz and Tiffany Louie came to SJSU as freshmen on gymnastics scholarships, they all hated having to come here and were not sure if they had made the right decision.
“Freshman year was the worst time of my life,” Khoshnood said. “Adjusting was so hard – adjusting to the gym, the coach, everything. But after Christmas things changed and we started to compete and I fell in love with it all over again.”
Targosz, originally from Phoenix, said she had never been to San Jose before joining the team.
“I didn’t know anything about the city, the state, the coach or the team,” she said. “At first I hated it, but later it ended up being the perfect fit and I adapted well.”
Louie said her freshman year was also tough.
“I’m not a quitter, and I knew after freshman year, things were going to get better,” she said.
“Since my parent’s house was not too far from school, I still had the comfort of going home when I needed to,” Louie said.
The trio agreed that a love for gymnastics has always been in all of their lives since they could walk.
“When people ask me how long I have been doing gymnastics, I just say ‘forever,’” Khoshnood said. “In eighth grade, I decided I wanted to try and get a gymnastics scholarship, and since then I worked to achieve that.”
Khoshnood said she wanted to stand for something in life during high school. With this plan in mind, she went forward and succeeded in getting a scholarship.
In her freshman year of high school, Targosz decided she needed a break after participating in gymnastics for five years.
“I wanted to have a real life, and not be in the gym or practice all the time,” she said.
As her senior year in high school approached, Targosz said she started to train again because she wanted to get into a good school and her gymnastics background would help.
Louie said she knew at a young age that gymnastics was her calling.
“I was six years old and when you’re little, of course, you say you want to go to the Olympics, but you learn that it’s not as easy as you thought,” she said.
It was in seventh grade that Louie said she decided she wanted to be a college gymnast, and was later recruited by SJSU.
Over the past four years, the trio has developed a bond that goes beyond the balance beam and the bars.
“We have such a special bond, and the three of us deserve all that has come to us,” Khoshnood said. “To make it through to your senior year is a great feeling.”
When Khoshnood, Targosz and Louie started together as freshmen at SJSU, there were seven girls in their class on the gymnastics team. Today, only three remain, Targosz said.
“I’m glad it was us three because we have developed such a good connection,” she said. “I learned so much, and everything I have learned in gymnastics I can bring into other parts of my life.”
“I’ve quit everything I have done and gymnastics is the one thing I have made it through,” Targosz said. “I’m just so proud of the three of us.”
Louie said she can hardly imagine never performing at the Event Center again. The gymnastics team performed for the last time at home this season on March 5.
“I remember as a freshman, I didn’t understand how big of a deal it was for the seniors at their last home meet,” Louie said. “But now, thinking about it, after this, we are never going to compete in that gym ever again.”
Women’s gymnastics head coach Wayne Wright said it’s not just about the competition in the sport, but how the student-athlete changes and develops as a person.
“It’s always hard when you recruit an athlete to see them leave because you see them grow and progress during the time they are here with you,” Wright said. “But you feel good because they have had a successful career.”
Khoshnood admits she is apprehensive about the future because she doesn’t know what comes after college gymnastics.
“All I know is gymnastics, and the fact that I have to leave it behind is probably the scariest thing I have to do,” she said.
“Gymnastics is what we live and breathe for,” Louie said. “There is so much time and dedication in gymnastics. It takes up your life, and now you have all this free time and you just don’t know what to do with it.”