Gymnastics is stronger than ever

Naia Willemsen, Spotlight Editor

Heavy breathing, legs shaking, and lungs burning: sounds like a description of cross country, or maybe track. But these aren’t runners training for their next big race—they’re gymnasts.
This year, gymnastics has a new focus: conditioning. Running stairs, planks, lunges, and various strengthening exercises are a part of the daily routine this year. And while this strength-building may feel uncomfortable, it’s paying off.
“It’s hard now, but we’re going to thank ourselves later in the season when all of the extra strength that we’ve acquired helps us get new skills,” junior captain Brooke Ury said.
That’s exactly what goal head coach Hannah Bergam had in mind. With more time compared to last year before the first meet, the team is well prepared for this point in the season.
“We’re in far better shape a few weeks into this year than we were two months into last year, and that has felt really good,” Bergam said.
But gymnastics isn’t just stronger conditioning-wise. The team has also found new strength in younger athletes.
“We have more freshmen and sophomores, and it’s really an advantage because the younger girls have a lot of experience,” Ury said.
Some of these younger gymnasts include freshmen Lacey Brundige and Maddie Parrish, and sophomores Emily Johnson and Gabi Parrish. Along with these experienced underclassmen gymnasts, however, there are many who are trying the sport for the first time.
“We have girls from high levels with lots of experience, and then lots of people who don’t have any experience at all, and that’s very exciting,” senior captain Lindsay Hodgson said.
Even with more girls on the team this year, the team has retained its overall closeness.
“We have a great dynamic and good sportsmanship, and we’re very close with each other,” junior Kelly Ferrera said.
Overall, gymnasts are excited for a season that will be one to remember.
“We have a lot of potential to get to postseason as a team, and we’re getting a lot of new skills really quickly,” senior captain Ting Pan said.