Meet the Seawolf: Melissa Doucette

How did you get started in gymnastics?
It was in a “Mommy and Me” class. I saw others doing it and decided I wanted to join in on it.

Play any other sports growing up?
Actually, I quit gymnastics when I was 12 years old and started diving and then three years later, I cam back to gymnastics. I liked the competitiveness of gymnastics and diving just have the same level.

Any comparison between New Hampshire and Alaska or are they two completely different worlds?
It’s pretty similar weather wise, actually, but just so far away. It’s very hard to be that far away from home.

What did your freshman year teach you about gymnastics at the college level? Biggest Transition?
The biggest thing was that college gymnastics is different from club gymnastics because college is more of being apart of a team than being just an individual.

You seem to have bounced back well from injury last year. How has it been holding up so far this year and how do you prevent further injury?
I tore my MCL at an away meet in California and in this upcoming summer, I’ll have to have surgery on it. I still have some problems with it but so far, it’s been fine. While training, if there is less numbers that I can do on a scoring scale that’s hurting my knee, I try and do that. The coaches are really good about that with me and it’s about quality over quantity.

How has your season stacked up to your invitations thus far?
It was going well and I had a lot of career highs to start the season. Just recently in the Air Force meet (Feb. 12), I dislocated my shoulder. It happened about halfway through my floor routine. So right now, there’s some down to strengthen my shoulder back up and get back to that level I was at earlier.

 Feel like there is any added pressure to perform since you’ve started this year off so well?
Maybe a little bit more just because I want to keep that consistency. However, it also gives me motivation though too to work harder in practice and keep on going.

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Your season-high of 38.400 points at the Towson is the highest by any UAA gymnast since 2009. Despite that, we’ve heard rumors that you can go even higher before the season is done. Any truth behind that, and if so, what’s your target score?
I would love to get an all-around of 39.000 points. I think I’m capable. Every event I do, I feel like it could still be better. So I’ don’t think I’ve reached my full potential quite yet. To do that, I need more consistency on beam and have to stay tight on bars.

You’ve always seemed to be strongest in the vault and floor competitions. Which do you prefer and why?
I would have to go with vault over floor. The reason for it that vault is so much more dynamic.

 How do you keep your edge when you have long periods of time between meets?
Just trying to stay motivated in the gym. But it’s hard because it can seem like day after day its ‘okay, another practice day’. Trying to look ahead helps and knowing there is a lot to be achieved within the next meet.

 Best part about being a gymnast at UAA?
There’s a lot of things that are great about it but just being a gymnast at the collegiate level is so rewarding and was always my dream growing up.

 What has been your most proud moment in your career?
Had to be when I was named the MPSF Conference Gymnast of the Week (Jan. 17-23) because that’s very hard to accomplish.

You’re a physical education major here at UAA. What would you like to do with that after graduation?
I want to coach gymnastics. I’ll probably go back home to coach at the club level, probably not the collegiate level.

 Any superstitions/rituals/or traditions you have on the day of a meet or during the meet itself?
I always have to wear my hair in a ponytail. If I do my hair differently or wear a braid, I always fall on beam so the ponytail is a must.