Friday Feature: Gymnastics' Veronica Porte

It seems that every where you look at a San Jose State University gymnastics meet, sophomore Veronica Porte is competing. One moment she’s energizing the crowd with her floor routine, the next she is sticking her landing on vault. From there she shifts to the uneven bars and fluidly executes every release before moving on to the balance beam where she gracefully dismounts with a smile. If it seems like she’s everywhere, that is because she is.

“V”, as she called by her teammates, began competing in gymnastics at the age of three. Gymnastics was originally just an outlet for her boundless energy, but the active youth found she enjoyed the sport and began working out at a gymnastics gym at the age of five.

“My mom put me in class because I was too crazy I guess,” said Porte with a laugh. “Too hyper.”

Porte went on to compete for Golden Gate Gymnastics in Concord, Calif., under 1988 Olympian Tracee Talavera. Porte was the 2000 and 2002 regional vault champion and served as an alternate for the Junior Olympics in 2003. 2005 marked two gymnastics highlights for Porte. They making it as a national qualifier and getting a scholarship to San Jose State.

Since beginning her collegiate career, Porte has added advancing to the NCAA Regionals during her freshman season to her highlight list.

“That was amazing,” said Porte.

Porte credits her success in gymnastics to her family.

“When [the Spartans] go down south, my whole family goes to the meets,” said Porte. “They’ve always been really supportive.”

While she still stays close to her family at home, Porte has found a new family in her teammates. She is especially close with sophomore Renae Moneymaker.

“We were roommates last year,” said Porte. "I talk to her about everything.”

Porte picked up her one pre-meet ritual while living with Moneymaker last year.

“Usually before a home meet I’ll have Subway,” said Porte. “It’s weird, I know, but last year I was in the dorms and the Subway is right down the way, so I’d always go there. So, I just did it again this year.”

Whatever rituals she practices, they seem to be working. Porte has become one of the Spartans’ top competitors. So far this season, Porte has scored her career-best of 39.050 in the all-around. The score came against Boise State, Utah State and Seattle Pacific. In the same meet, Porte also scored a career-best 9.875 on the floor, 9.675 on vault, 9.750 on bars and 9.750 on the beam. Porte scored a career-high 9.800 on beam at Illinois-Chicago. On vault, she scored a season-best 9.700 at Stanford.

“I think right now she’s the block of the program,” said head coach Wayne Wright, “And she was last year too. She competed in the all-around all 14 meets last year and she’s competed in the all-around five meets in a row now. She’s been fairly consistent, so we look to V as the base of the program.”

Porte is looking to take her leadership out of the gym and into the classroom. Though she has not declared a major yet, she is looking into child development. She is currently taking a children’s psychology class that is appealing to her aspiration to teach.

“I like learning about the growing up process and what goes on in your brain,” said Porte.

While growing up herself, Porte’s mind didn’t waver from gymnastics. Though her siblings competed in several different sports, Porte said focused on the mats.

“I don’t think I ever didn’t want to compete,” said Porte. “Sometimes I think that it would be nice to do something else, but I still always wanted to compete.”

While she loves the sport, Porte does look forward to a future without gymnastics.

“When I’m done I want to be adventurous and do new things,” said Porte.

Porte’s adventures will have to wait as the Spartans prepare for the remainder of the season. The team has six more meets, including two home meets, before the Western Athletic Conference Championships. Porte has confidence in her team to continue the success they found last season.

“I think we’re going to do very well and we’re going to make it to Regionals,” said Porte. “We keep improving every week at every meet and we’re getting way more consistent, so I’m expecting a lot of good things from everybody.”

Coach Wright is looking for good things from Porte for the rest of the season as well.

“I expect her to compete like she has been,” said Wright. “She’s doing very well and I have no doubt she’ll end up an All-Conference athlete again. Every week we do a little bit more to increase her difficulty and she’s been able to handle that very well.”

Her ability to continue to grow as an athlete comes from her love of the sport.

“It’s fun,” said Porte. “It’s a lot of work, but you go out and have fun. If you don’t like [gymnastics] then you probably shouldn’t do it. It’s hard, but if you love it, it’s worth every day.”