Perfect 10

Largest school gymnastics team in years

Addie Lindenmeyer

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Going from a tight-knit group of five to a team of 10, the gymnastics team has made a sizeable increase from past seasons. It was only two years ago that the team was on the verge of being terminated completely, but has so far managed to remain.

The near discontinuation of the program affected multiple returning team members, including junior Becca Meyer. After finding out the team’s end was only a false alarm, Meyer said she was overjoyed.

“I was ecstatic finding out I would be able to compete again, however, there was still a feeling deep in my heart that it would get cut next year,” Meyer said. “I had to push that feeling to the side so I could focus on bettering myself to show how hard gymnasts work and that it should be a continued sport in high school, even after I graduate.”

While the audience only sees the final performances, many hours are dedicated to practicing for competitions. The team practiced together over the summer and transitioned into everyday practices, including the addition of occasional practice on days when school is out of session. Junior Molly Stahl said that while the sport initially took a toll on her body, she finds the strength to push through using motivation that comes from coach JoAnne Thaw.

“She [Thaw] tells us that if we want to get better, we have to keep pushing through and that it will only make us stronger and things easier,” Stahl said.

The increase in numbers has offered team members recognition and gratification. Sophomore Toria Thaw said that due to a number of girls in varying social groups and activities, it has assisted in expanding her awareness of events happening elsewhere in the school. Additionally, the girls enjoy watching each other improve in an assortment of skills.

“It’s really nice,” sophomore Elise Jantz said. “Especially since we have so many beginners, it’s nice to see how everybody is making progress.”

While a larger team has improved both social aspects and intensified the encouraging atmosphere, it comes with its own set of downfalls. Not only do the gymnasts suffer at the expense of their bodies, but there has been a decrease in the amount of one-on-one time with coaches.

“Last year, with only five, we got a lot of one-on-one time, but this year we are having to rotate a lot of girls in and out on our events- meaning we get less time on each event and less private coaching time,” Meyer said.

Just as any past season, the team still has hopes and goals set in place, including the desire to attend and place at the state meet. Furthermore, as a result of new gymnasts, freshman Georgia Garcia hopes that it will boost the amount of support that gymnastics gains from the student body.

“It [the crowd] helps you do better as you’re performing because you feel this urge,” Garcia said. “Like, ‘I can really do it if they think I can’.”