A rising senior, Perea takes most school classes online but attended Batavia High School this past year for a Physics class. She verbally committed to compete for Cal-Berkeley in eighth grade.
“I like the challenge [of gymnastics], how you constantly have to be a better version of yourself. There’s always something you could work on,” Perea said. “[On uneven bars] I feel like I can fly. I’ve loved bars since I was little.”
“She’s very good on bars,” Wu agreed. “She’s always determined to do the sport, no matter how much injury she has and how much she’s hit bumpy roads. She never gives up.”
A big reward arrived in late February during National Team training camp in Sarasota, Fla. Perea learned she would be part of the U.S. Senior lineup while in Italy at the City of Jesolo Trophy Feb. 28-March 3.
“I was in shock, to be honest. I had just gotten back in shape and I wasn’t really preparing for anything,” Perea said.
At the 2017 Jesolo Trophy as a Junior, Perea won all-around (57.225) and vault (14.325) and shared first on the uneven parallel bars (14.65) for the first-place U.S team.
This time, Perea was 13th in all-around (52.167). She was thankful to compete pain-free and that the team prevailed by 1.597 points over China.
“I could have done better, but it was my first meet back after a while,” Perea said. “I was definitely nervous, but it was definitely exciting to compete again.”
As the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo approach, Perea and Wu plan to use nationals to evaluate her progress since surgery.
“I really don’t want to rush it. I know the end goal is obviously the Olympics, but I want to take it one meet at a time, just focus on that,” Perea said.