Gymnastics Vaults Into New Season


Freshman Roosa Uusitalo does a flip. Despite a lack of training space and time, the gymnastics team is ready for the upcoming season. Photo by Meilin Tsao.

With the season well underway, the gymnastics team is looking to improve its overall standing within the league. Due to the loss of many seniors to graduation last year, the team plans to recruit more underclassmen to help bolster the program.

“Our main goal is to win CCS, but a lot of our excellent gymnasts graduated,” junior Chiara Cerruti said. “We have a lot of new freshmen and sophomores that bring a lot to the varsity team. Our JV team is mainly composed of juniors, so I think we should work on getting more freshmen and sophomores to get the required skills so that the team can keep doing well.”

The team was unable to get a head start on the season due to lack of availability of gym space. Instead, the group focused on strength work as a precursor to utilizing gym equipment.

“[The team] learns how to respect the space,” coach Kaylee Chee said. “Unfortunately we have to be the ones that move in and out [of the gym]. We do a lot of plyometrics [and] high-intensity workouts [to prepare].”

Since gym time is limited, the team makes the most out of the after school practices.

“There’s a lot of work involved [and] commitment and accountability are high priorities [for us],” coach Youlee Lee said.

Along with the principle of hard work, the team values what each member brings to the table. All members have a role to play and work toward improving each other.

“I think this team really works on making everyone feel included and part of a big family,” Chiara said. “I think we’ve all learned that even if you fail at something you should keep working on the skill. All the gymnasts push each other in a way that makes everyone a better leader and gymnast.”

Currently, some schools such as Palo Alto High School, Tracy High School, John C. Kimball High School and Merrill F. West are cutting their gymnastics programs due to lack of funding, among other reasons.

“We just want the program to stay running especially because a lot of schools are cutting their gymnastics programs because lack of funding… and equipment,” Chee said. “[We want] to keep the program going [because] it’s important.”

At school, the team is able to make use of specialized gymnastics equipment, like a spring floor, so members can work on more intricate skills as opposed to using wrestling mats.

“One of our biggest strengths is having a gym at school with good equipment,” Chiara said. “Many of the schools that we competed at last year had wrestling mats as their floor, while we have an actual spring floor. This allows us to get more skills and also… practice more often.”

Despite the current obstacles, the team is optimistic for the coming season and hopes to create a welcoming environment that will encourage all members to improve.

“Our goal as a team would be to have everyone improve throughout the season,” senior Jessie Nelson said. “I know a lot of people are working towards new skills like back handsprings and kips.”