Women's Gymnastics
Delaynee Rodriguez Making Her Mark with UK Gymnastics

Delaynee Rodriguez Making Her Mark with UK Gymnastics

by Aliyah McDaniel

The college decision is one of the biggest choices a student-athlete will make. For Delaynee Rodriguez, the family atmosphere at Kentucky made leaving her family in Las Vegas and making her decision a lot easier.

“For me, picking a college was super serious because I live so far away,” she said. “I’m super close with my family, but I feel like coming here was leaving my family and coming to a new family. When I took my visit here, it just felt right.”

Now that she is here, the family environment has not changed.

“We are so close. We are so fun and so supportive of each other, which is something you can’t fake,” Rodriguez said. “My family and friends who watch on TV always talk about how it looks like we are always having fun, and we really are. We have fun practices, and are just so supportive, even if we have a hard day. We really just try to lift each other up, because you’re not always going to do great every time, and that’s okay. It’s going to happen but we just move on and try to have a good time.”

The transition to college has been a challenge, but the support of this team has helped Rodriguez adjust tremendously.

“It’s a big transition coming in as a freshman, especially with school and everything,” she said. “It’s hard to balance. But we have so much support from our coaches and our advisors which really helps.”

The Las Vegas native has not only performed in every meet so far this season, she has been the lead off on different apparatuses multiple times.

“When Tim (Garrison) told me that he was going to start me up on everything, I was kind of like ‘Oh My Gosh!’”, she said. “It was definitely stressful, especially starting in our intersquads and when we did practice meets and stuff. When you go first you don’t have much time to breathe, but I think getting a lot of numbers behind it has really helped.”

The freshman has settled fine, with season highs in each event not falling below a 9.850. She attributes her success to the trust Team 50 has in her.

“I think everyone is really confident in each other and it makes my confidence higher because everyone trusts in me, which makes me trust in myself,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez was very highly recruited coming out of high schools, with colleges all over the nation, but she was not expecting to have the success she’s had so far.

“I honestly didn’t have an expectation coming in,” she said. “I was kind of just going with the flow. I of course want to have high expectations for myself but I really just planned to work hard in the gym and whatever happened, happened. So I’m really just glad that I get to contribute to the team. I love competing.”

Off the mat, Rodriguez loves reading and taking pictures.

“I love old film photography”, she said. “I have a film account and take my camera everywhere so I’m always taking pictures. I’m also a huge reader. I used to read a book a week but now not so much because I’m just so busy. I used to read a lot of romance books but I’ve been really into mystery lately. And I am such a beach girl. Laying out on the beach and reading a book is definitely my vibe.”

Though her time is just beginning, this Las Vegas girl is warming up to Kentucky very well.

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