Freshman Leads Busy Life on Stage


Photo By Isa Searle

Freshman Samantha Courtade excels in both gymnastics and dance, winning first place in her most recent competition in Texas with her team.

Isa Searle, Mirada Staff

It’s noon on a Saturday. Samantha Courtade has just gotten off stage after a dance recital. She then rushes to a gym in order to compete in a gymnastics competition just hours later. The car ride there is frantic, filled with adjustments to both hair and makeup as well as a complete change into her competition leotard. She arrives at the meet just in time for warm-ups. No matter how tiring this proves to be, freshman Samantha Courtade lives for moments like these. 

Since she knew how to walk, Courtade has been attending gymnastics classes and competing since the age of five. Along with creating close-knit bonds with her team, she now competes in national competitions every year along with several local competitions. 

“I started gymnastics becauseIt seems like a fun sport to do,” Courtade said. “The lasting friendships I could make also were really appealing when I was younger.”

Gymnastics has benefited her in more ways than one. It has provided Courtade with several trips around the country to states like Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Nevada, and other destinations in California like Disneyland and Universal Studios. 

“What I like most about gymnastics is getting to travel around with my team and compete with them,” Courtade said. “We get to visit places you wouldn’t normally travel to so I have some unique experiences.” 

There’s no doubt that going to such big competitions can get nerve racking. Like most athletes, Courtade has certain things she does before to help her get in the right state of mind. 

“Competitions are very fun to me,” she said. “I do get very nervous before every meet but what I do to prepare is talk to my friends to get my mind off of it and try not to focus too much on what’s ahead since gymnastics is as much a mental sport as it is physical.”

Courtade practices her vault routine, soaring over the landing pad. (Photo By Provided by Samantha Courtade.)

Her most recent competition took place in Grapevine, Texas, where her team took first place. Although the national competition of 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19, at the 2019 national championships she and her team took second place, missing first by only one tenth of a point. 

Courtade also fills some of her free time by taking cultural dance classes every week. She’s only been learning this type of dance for about a year, but has danced on and off for a good majority of her life. 

“What I like about cultural dancing is learning all different styles of dances and dance moves,” Courtade said. “You don’t see these types of dances commonly and it’s cool to understand them and be able to perform them.”

Both dancing and gymnastics give her the opportunity to perform for large crowds, which is something that she has always been drawn to. 

“What it’s like to perform in front of so many people is scary but also exciting,” she said. “I feel so many different emotions when I’m on the stage or floor but in the end it’s really fun.”

These sports have created a path for Courtade that she hopes to take her through high school and possibly into college. For now, she will continue to strive to reach new goals in both gymnastics and dance while creating memories to hold for the rest of her life.