Sac State gymnast Mariah York looks to bounce back from a heavily injured past

York sidelined for entire junior year of competition


Jason Gallardo

Mariah York poses next to the balance beam before a meet with Alaska Anchorage at the Nest on Sunday, Feb. 16. York has been battling injuries her whole collegiate career and will be out for her entire junior year following ankle surgery.

Jason Gallardo

Athletes tend to feel unstoppable during their prime; Sacramento State junior gymnast Mariah York was expected to be one of those athletes and a key contributor to this year’s team but a string of injuries have kept her out of competition.

York grew up in Queen Creek, Arizona and began her gymnastics career at 6 years old.

York first fell in love with gymnastics when she attended a friend’s birthday party at a gym. After that, York begged her mother, Kaycee Asdell, to enroll her in gymnastics. 

“She begged for about six months, but she was so uncoordinated I was reluctant to take her back,” Asdell said. “She loved gymnastics. She lived and breathed it. When she wasn’t at the gym, she was flipping everywhere around the house.” 

After graduating from Mesquite High School in Gilbert, Arizona, York chose Sac State over the Pac-12 school Arizona State and SEC school University of Arkansas because of Sac State’s coaching staff.

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York said she felt the love that the coaches gave their gymnasts. 

“The coaches were the deciding factor to come to Sac State,” York said. “I took 10 official and unofficial trips to different colleges and I like how Sac State was not too close and not too far from home.”

York’s freshman year at Sac State did not start great. She tore her labrum in her shoulder in the middle of the season, forcing her out for a whole year.

The injuries continued into her sophomore year as she retore her labrum, causing her to only be able to compete on the balance beam. She appeared in four meets.

Story continues below photo.

Photo courtesy of Mariah York
Mariah York poses with her teammates before a meet during her sophomore year at the Nest. York said she relies on her teammates to support her during recovery.

York’s injury troubles only got worse. In November 2019, York injured her ankle and had surgery. The surgery will keep her out for her entire junior year. 

“This injury has been harder than others,” York said. “I won’t be able to compete my junior year, so knowing I only have one more year left there is a lot of pressure with getting healthy. (Competing in gymnastics) is a goal I had my entire life.” 

York said she tries to avoid over-thinking and self-doubt. 

“She struggles with that a lot,” Asdell said. “She gets way down. She relies on her family, friends and coaches to help mentally and emotionally support her through those tough times.”

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York has tremendous love for all her teammates. She prides herself on being a mentor, teacher and someone to talk to when they are down. Freshman Taylor Weber, York’s teammate and a Junior Olympic qualifier, said that has benefited from having York as a teammate.

“She’s super helpful and is always looking out for each one of us in the gym and outside of it,” Weber said. “She’s constantly cheering and is by my side always. If she sees me or someone else struggling, she doesn’t hesitate to come and help us figure out the problem or make us feel better. She’s a teammate you can always count on.” 

Although York hasn’t been able to compete, she has had an impact on the team. Coach Randy Solorio believes that just having York around is a big help to the team.

“She knows the sport,” Solorio said. “She knows where they are and what they are going through. And she is able to see the positives when they are having a bad day.”

York is expected to make a full recovery and compete in her senior year.