Maela Lazaro – Senior Oregon State Gymnastics

“Maela is my teammate and my first roommate in college. We were part of a class of seniors that went through a lot of hardships in our four years at Oregon State that not many know about. We lost a friend/teammate to suicide our freshmen year and felt like we didn’t fit in. Sophomore year, we fought to make lineups despite injuries and lack of competition experience. We grieved as staff members stepped away after losing loved ones, and this year our head coach was unable to be with us due to health concerns”

 “Our whole journey has been a battle, a constant fight. We are so strong because of it. But what’s amazing about Maela is how much grace she has shown throughout her journey. She came out of a small gym in Hawaii, that had just enough room for one of each piece of equipment. She managed to compete well in level 10 for three years before earning a walk-on spot at Oregon State. 

“As a walk on,  she didn’t compete her first year, but traveled in order to move mats and boards for the team. Sophomore year she competed using her debut routine and earned a 9.9 winning the title. She had a near perfect year on the event, but fell at the regional competition. Determined to perform for her team, she came back the next year and competed well in a lineup that had trouble finding a rhythm.”

“The team made nationals and a week before the competition she went through a tough breakup after a three year relationship. She never let it into the gym. She handled it with such grace and on the first day of nationals she performed the most beautiful routine receiving All-American honors on the event.”

“Senior year she struggled with injury and pressure to perform a new routine without the presence of our head coach to help her. No matter how much she struggled internally, she was always supporting her teammates and acting as a light for the whole team.”

 “Maela was about to perform a new routine at senior night, but senior night didn’t happen due to COVID-19 cancellations. She deserved a storybook ending to her Cinderella story, but she didn’t get it. No matter how much pain she felt for not getting those last moments of her career, she had nothing but gratitude and grace to preach. Maela is the definition of grace, resilience, and strength; and I’m proud to call her my teammate.”

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