Gymnastics has high hopes with a full squad

Jules Cantor

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By Cassie Sachs ’13, Contributor

For Country Day students, as the temperature drops and the trees start losing their leaves, it means one thing: the winter sports season is under way. Whereas basketball and swimming usually get the majority of attention, this year the gymnastics team is making huge strides, as participation increased from last year’s nine to fourteen participants. When asked about the sudden upswing, Head Coach Steve Conner said that it’s simply “the upwards end of a cycle. We had five new freshmen come out, and lost no one from last year with a full returning team.”

The team did however see a

significant first day drop off. After having 22 girls come out, only 14 survived the first practice. Mr. Conner attributes the almost one-third reduction to the “realization that this is, like any winter sport, a four month commitment.” Frustrated with the growing belief that gymnastics can be used as just a sports credit, he is planning on enforcing the rule that “every gymnast is a committed member of the team. If you signed up, you are going to be at all the meets.” Senior captain Claire Heinichen is excited about the increase. “We will finally have enough people to have four girls competing in each event, which is the minimum to qualify for a team to score,” said Heinichen. Alexis Victor, another senior captain, added that the having 14 girls will allow the team to “spread out the responsibilities and have more fun.”

Mr. Conner is optimistic on the team’s chances this year. Gymnastics is the only sport that has no divisions, meaning that CCD has to compete against all of the big schools in the city such as Mason and Lakota. Regardless, Mr. Conner is setting high goals for improvement for the team this year. “Our team will definitely be better than last year,” said Conner. “I just want us to improve our individual skills, and reach our own personal goals.” Victor added that it would be huge for the team to beat their competitors who are comparable in size, such as Seven Hills and Turpin.

Conner is excited about his upperclass leadership. “Our seniors this year are great. Alexis was our top gymnast last year and was given the MVP award, Claire is a strong gymnast, who will lead the team in vault and bars, and Erica Brackett started gymnastics just last year and she will probably be our top beam scorer.” Conner added that he has high hopes for his seniors to “step up and really lead the team” and is “really looking forward to a great year.”