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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


GymCats head coach Tabitha Yim changed Arizona’s identity with lessons she learned in her own career

Rebecca Noble

Head coach Tabitha Yim huddles with her team during Arizona’s 194.025-191.600 win over Utah State and Texas Woman’s University in McKale Center on Jan. 6.

The No. 25 Arizona women’s gymnastics team heads to Los Angeles this weekend to take on the No. 4 UCLA Bruins Saturday. Arizona is going into the meet with a 6-4 record while the Bruins are at the top of the Pac-12 Conference with a 6-2 record.

The Wildcats are preparing for a tough meet against the Bruins after falling short last weekend to Washington 197.175 to 195.425.

Despite last weekend’s loss, the GymCats continue to strive for victory. Part of the Wildcats’ preparation includes a focus on the mentality the team brings to each meet. The team often reflects back onto the core values that head coach Tabitha Yim has brought to the program after her time as a gymnast at Stanford.

While Yim was there, her coaches taught her a set of core values to live by as a gymnast and as a person. Yim said that the core values did not fully resonate with her until after college and she hopes that bringing the values to Arizona will help guide the GymCats in the right direction.

“Whenever we make a decision as a team or as a staff, we always go back to the core values,” Yim said, “It’s how we do things and it’s who we are.”


Passion is the first core value the GymCats go by, because in order to succeed, you have to be passionate about the sport and bring the energy to the floor, according to Yim. The gymnastics staff uses their passion for the sport to help develop strong women leaders.

“You can’t come here and be a D1 athlete if you aren’t passionate about it—then it feels like work instead of feeling like something you want to do,” Yim said.


Commitment is a major focus when being a student athlete. When an athlete is passionate about the sport, they will be fully committed to put the time and effort into achieving their goals.

“The girls commit a lot,” Yim said. “They go to study hours, they are eating healthy, doing extra conditioning and taking care of their bodies in the training room; so they are committing at a higher level of gymnastics.”


Many GymCats started gymnastics at a young age and it can be hard to balance identity and the sport because, unlike some sports that you do for the rest of your life, gymnastics will eventually come to an end. Arizona gymnastics pushes for the GymCats to find another passion along with gymnastics.

Junior Victoria Ortiz makes it known that they are not just athletes, but they are student athletes.

“There is so much more to this experience of college than just gymnastics,” Ortiz said. “We shouldn’t just define ourselves by our sport, and Tabitha makes sure we know how to balance, which I think this is one of the most important values when being a student athlete.”


This comes naturally to the gymnast when having passion, commitment and balance. Athletes will start to believe in the process of accomplishing their goals and working their way to success.

“They will believe in what they are doing, who they are becoming and the greater purpose,” Yim said.


An important aspect of Arizona gymnastics is they all come together as one, not only on the completion floor but also in life.

Senior Selynna Felix-Terrazas said a sense of family is very important in her life, along with being a part of a team.

“Even though we all come from different places and we are so diverse … we can still be a family as long as everyone has that passion and the love for each other,” Felix-Terrazas said. “We can do anything, and I don’t think many other sports can say [they] have that connection.”

Family is the most important core value to the GymCats.

“I believe in the core values so strongly that we try to talk to the girls about it as much as possible,” Yim said. “We want to make sure they know exactly what they are and what they mean, because I know they will be very beneficial.”

The GymCats will be going into this weekend with their core values in mind and bring the pressure to the UCLA Bruins. The meet will be live on Pac-12 Networks on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. MST.

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