Beyond the Box Score: Tara Morey

Name: Tara Morey

School: New Palestine

Sport: Gymnastics

Grade: Junior

Events: Vault, floor, balance beam, uneven bars

Nominated by: Head coach Jenny Musselman

Coach’s take: Morey returned to gymnastics after a four-year hiatus. In this, her first year as a Dragon, the junior has emerged as reliable No. 3 behind standout seniors Regan Elsea and Kate Fee. Her contributions to the team so far, Musselman said, have been enormous.

“A lot of people don’t realize how important that third place is. In high school, you count three scores, so that third score is very important,” Musselman said. “When you have two kids like Kate Fee and Regan Elsea, who score 9.2, 9.3 or 9.4 on every event, you can’t have someone who only scores sixes or sevens backing them up. If you do, your team, overall, doesn’t score that well. I always say … we need a high eight or midlevel eight on everything else to back up the other two, and Tara is getting to that point.

“She is such a hard worker … Taking four years off of gymnastics all together, we knew this would be somewhat of a rebuilding year, a year for getting everything back. And she is doing it very quickly. It’s become almost like an addiction to her. She thrives on learning new things. She cannot wait to get better. I think she realizes that if she wouldn’t have taken those years off, she could be at the same level as (Fee and Elsea). I think she uses that as motivation for next year. She sees what they are doing now, and says, ‘I want to do that.'”

Signature moment: At a home meet Feb. 3 against Noblesville earlier this month, Morey posted personal bests in every event.

She tied for second on floor exercise (8.525), placed third on vault (8.3) and balance beam (8.575) and was fourth on uneven bars (7.825).

“She’s her own toughest critic, so when she falls, she takes it to heart,” Musselman added. “She pushes so hard in practice, and that was really the first meet everything came together for her. She was smiling so much. It was really uplifting for her. I told her mom afterwards, ‘You might have to get a dog leash to keep her feet on the ground, because she is floating on cloud nine right now.’ Those scores reflected how hard she has been working.”