Gymnastics flipping their way into the record books


Sally Levine

Freshman Ava Axelrood prepares for the dismount.

Michael Barthelemy and Chloe Haack

Girls gymnastics hopes to continue an already memorable season, despite welcoming many new members to the team.

The Kits improved greatly last year and are excited to build off their early momentum this season.

“We have come a long way,” junior captain Jamie Lauderbaugh said. “And we have only had just a glimpse of what we are capable of.”

The team has already shown great strides, scoring a total of 128.425 at their meet against Highland Park on Nov. 27, their highest score in two years.This was the Kits’ first meet of the season, setting high expectations for the rest of the year.

“Because gymnastics is such a disciplinary sport,” Lauderbaugh explained, “younger gymnasts can have a hard time staying on task and staying motivated through frustrating times.”

Many of the team’s new underclassmen found their way to gymnastics through diving, as many of the skills transfer between the sports. The ability for these new gymnasts to feel comfortable quickly often leads to immediate growth, a strong advantage for the team.

Over the years I have noticed that our girls have a strong sense of resilience,” head coach Meghan Koons said. “They take on their failures, learn from them, and make the necessary changes.”

Teammates also show tremendous amounts of support for one another, with many members and coaches of the team believing they are one of the closest groups in the school.

“I think that going into a sport that is so hard mentally, being around people that you know will support you, and are there for you, is so great,” junior Jamie Otwell said. “It’s really helpful to know that we are a family, and we fall back on each other.”

Often, even from opposing teams cheer for one another , something unique to gymnastics. Every gymnast knows how laborious the season can become, and something as simple as cheering somebody’s name can make a difference in the athlete’s self-confidence.

“[The encouragement] creates an extremely positive environment during competitions as we are all trying to encourage and support all gymnasts in our sport,” Koons explained. “This not only gives a sense of team support, but also creates a community throughout our entire district.”

The Kits look to keep building on an already promising season as they will host the Chester Jones Invitational on Jan. 5 in the Gymnastics Gym.