SHS gymnasts prepare for new league, new teammates
FARMER’S KORNER – Gymnasts on the Summit High School team will be halfway through their new syllabuses when they’ll have to spring into action for their first meet.
The Tigers started practice last week, and will compete in their first meet Sept. 5 – two days after school starts. The team has some changes to look forward to this season. It lost three seniors from last year, one freshman who did not return, and junior Tasha Rosener, who decided to pursue diving this year but will function as a team manager. Otherwise, the team has seven new freshmen and three new girls commuting from Vail for practices since their team – Vail Mountain – was discontinued this season. The SHS team will also have a new array of competition in the Jefferson County League.
“I think the overall level of our team is the highest that it’s been in the history of Summit gymnastics,” said second-year head coach Beth Flaherty. “The depth of our program is continuing to grow each year. I’m pleased that a lot of our kids worked out in the offseason, whether they were competing in a league or going to a gymnastics camp. I’m impressed with their preparedness.”
Gymnastics has a guaranteed stack of newcomers, thanks to youth programs available throughout the county.
“Everyone here is here to stay,” Flaherty said. “Very few kids come out as a freshman in high school never having done gymnastics before. In gymnastics, you really have to have some background and some skill. The first day of practice, there was only one kid that couldn’t do a back handspring by herself. The sole reason our program continues to grow and improve is because of the great support we get from the Silverthorne Rec Center and the Breck Rec Center.”
There are no official try-outs for SHS gymnastics, but newcomers to the team arrive with a history of skills.
Vail team coach Chris Weber will help Flaherty coach Summit this season. Weber, who lives in Gypsum, took an interest in gymnastics more than 10 years ago, when his martial arts instructor encouraged it. He then dropped martial arts and made gymnastics his main focus, referring to the sport as “very competitive” and “addictive.” He will help coach the Tigers four days a week and has already worked with Claudia Bouvier, Katie Lindbloom and Marki Sindlinger, all former Vail gymnasts who will also make the commute to compete for Summit High.
“It’s nice to have a real team now,” Lindbloom said at Tuesday’s practice. “My goal is to hopefully make it to state. I made it last year and it was really fun. You’re competing against really good girls.”
Now that it is part of the Jeffco League, the Summit team is expecting stiffer competition this season.
“I think having the girls exposed to a higher level of gymnastics and seeing what’s out there will only motivate them to step it up,” Flaherty said. “You compete at the level your competitors are at, so if our competitors are a level above us, it will help us rise to that level too.
“A new league is a big change for us; long-term, I think it will be awesome. Geographically, (Jefferson County) is a lot closer to us. We won’t be driving to Gunnison or Alamosa.”
Team members are very excited about the upcoming season. Team captain Kendra Huenneke will be the only senior, and the season will also be the last for junior Erin Young, who is graduating early. Last year, three girls from the Summit team qualified for state on beam, three in all-around, three on bars and four on floor. The team’s overall goal for the season is to qualify for state as a team.
“Last year, we beat our school record and our team was really good friends,” Huenneke said. “Everyone seems to be really good this year. I’m excited. I was looking forward to the season all summer.”
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