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Gymnastics team looks ahead

With gymnastics teams throughout the FCIAC boasting rosters of around 20 athletes, Staples competes with a mere 12. The goal is to perfect four different events that are showcased throughout competition season. These are the girls who make up the small, but strong and determined girls’ gymnastics team.

Competition season is in full swing as the girls have already competed at FCIACs and are preparing for Sates this weekend, which will take place on Saturday, March 1 at Pomperaug High School.

Similar to track and field, gymnastics includes four main events: floor, balance beam, bars, and vault. These four events require the mastering of many strenuous skills such as, strength, flexibility, balance, and speed. “Our skills have improved and the way we execute our routines has become better as the season has progressed,” captain Anna Violette ’14 said.

Last year, with only six girls on the team, each gymnast had to participate in all four events. “This year we had more than enough girls and had people who specialized in certain events,” coach, Kelsey Martin said. This let the girls hone in on events specific to their particular strengths.

Captain, Deanna Baris ’14 was able to place individually at FCIACs on floor with a fourth place  score of 8.65. Baris also made First Team All FCIAC, while Violette and gymnasts Kacey Hertan ’16, Sophia Stanley ’16, Hannah       Rose ’17, and Andrea Mahieu ’15 all made Second Team. Additionally, Lexi Wetmore ’17 and Chandler O’Reardon ’17 both received honorable mentions.

“Every girl who competed in FCIACs received an award. This has never happened before, so that was exciting!” Martin said proudly.

Baris also commented on how hard her teammates are working, and how new skills have been achieved on almost every event this season. “They’re a great group of girls and I’m super proud of the progress everyone has made this year,” Baris said.

The team as a whole ended up coming in fifth place at FCIACs. According to Martin, the team was very successful in two and a half out of their four events, and showed significant improvement on both floor and vault.

The girls were unfortunate enough to face multiple snow days leading up to their biggest competition of the year, tightening the training schedule. Many also suffered from injury or were absent due to sickness. “We had very little practice the week before, so it was scary going into FCIACs with no preparation,” Violette said.

Despite all of these obstacles, the girls were able to keep their spirits up, and give their all on the spring floor, the bars, the four inch wide beam, and the vault. “Overall we did really well as a team,” Sophia Stanley ’16 said.

With the future in mind, the girls have no time to hang their heads.  States is coming up this Saturday, so it’s right back to the gym with the ultimate goal of improving on their most recent finish.

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Sarah Ellman, Staff Writer
Sarah Ellman ’15 can be seen on the sidelines of Staples football games, exciting the throngs of people with her cheers every Friday night during the fall. However, Ellman can also be found in the classroom, in room 2032, actively participating at the Staples High School newspaper, Inklings. The senior has always enjoyed writing, as a kid she would create her own picture books with folded 8x11 sheets of paper, but has also participated in cheerleading since eighth grade. This summer, she attended a summer journalism program at New York University, which she described as “really cool.” She felt she excelled writing pieces for Inklings that were more along the lines of features, and instead focused on a different type of writing. “The program taught me how to really write a news story and cover an actual event,” Ellman said. Ellman, a cheer captain this year, headed to a gymnastics camp this summer along with her teammates, in order to prepare for their upcoming season. She feels there is a certain connection between her sport and journalism. “You can’t be quiet with either of them, you have to be personable and loud.” She most enjoys meeting new people and getting to interact with the entire school.   With Inklings, she can achieve this with interviews, but she also entertains the students at sporting events. It is necessary to entertain and capture an audience in both instances and Ellman succeeds in all facets of the activities she participates in. She also engages in community service, including Saferides, an organization that provides rides home for teenagers on Saturday nights. As for Monday through Friday, Ellman can probably be found at Shake Shack, grabbing her favorite food (a cheeseburger) of which she proclaimed her love for. “My friends are legitimately concerned about me.”

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