Despite doing handstands, splits and back-breaking backflips, the gymnastics team has remained quiet and obscure in the sports community at school. However, this year, the girls varsity gymnastics team has leapt onto the center stage.
Not only is it training harder this year, but the team also has a full team with nine varsity members and five all-around competitors.
“This is the first year we’re back as a full team since 2003,” varsity Head Coach Lina Slack said.
The girls competing all-around are senior Erica Hicks, sophomore Sophie Johnson and freshmen Erin Wooley, Krysteena Snyder and Kelli Yamaguma. As all-around competitors, they must compete in all four gymnastics events: balance beam, bars, vault and floor. All coming from club teams, they have had a lot of experience and practice going into the season.
“It helps because they are working out year-round,” Slack said. “We wouldn’t have a complete team without them, it would just be individual competitors.”
Non-all-around members do not have an easy job either. Because practice had to wait until basketball was finished with its season to use the gym, the members who do not compete year-round had to to develop a routine in a narrow time span. Nevertheless, there are still between seven and nine competitors in each event this year.
Despite the short time span, the team has won its meets against both Lowell High School and Gilroy High School.
“They did all right for the first meet,” Slack said. “It’s difficult because it is a team sport. You’ve got one person on balance beam and everyone’s looking at the one person on balance beam. I think they feel [the pressure].”
The team will be competing against tough competitor Saint Francis.
“[We need] clean form, no falls and no bent legs,” Slack said. “A team like Saint Francis has so many gymnasts of such a high caliber that you can’t give away points because your foot is flexed or your head is in the wrong position.”
With at least four all-around competitors, the team this year can qualify for team CCS as well as individual CCS at the end of the season.
“This year, I think there is no question that we will qualify to CCS,” senior Erica Hicks said. “All of the varsity members have qualified to CCS on at least one event as individuals in the past three years I have been on the team. I don’t think we have ever lacked the ability—only the numbers, and this year, with more talent on the team than ever, it will be a sure thing.”
The close-knit team is excited for the rest of the season.
“I’m looking forward to all the meets and losing the butterflies before the meets,” sophomore Sophie Johnson said. “[Gymnastics] kills your body, but it’s a fun sport.”