SHS gymnasts push for new tumbling floor
FARMER’S KORNER – The Summit High School gymnastics team wants a new tumbling floor, and is looking for community help in acquiring it. All season, the Tigers have been actively soliciting for donations to install a springboard floor. Currently, Summit High has an etho-foam floor, which many of the girls refer to as little more than a wrestling mat. That floor consists of a 3-inch-thick layer of foam sitting directly on the gymnasium floor. A spring floor, on the other hand, incorporates that same foam floor on a bed of steel spring coils topped by two layers of plywood or particle board. According to head coach Beth Flaherty, the floor will cost around $6,000. The spring kit costs around $4,000 and a combination of the wood, shipping and installation make up the balance.The team already has a little more than $3,000 sitting in its coffers, Flaherty said. Most of that is from the You-Be-The-Judge fundraiser held during Homecoming week. The rest of the savings are from concession sales held throughout the season as well as a $700 donation provided by the participants of the Peak 10 Gymnastics Camp, held before the start of the Tigers’ season.
For the remaining $3,000 needed for the floor, the team is looking for community help in the form of the buy-a-board fundraiser. Since the beginning of the season, each of the gymnasts competing for SHS have been selling squares which represent the individual boards of wood needed to install the floor. A total of 110 boards are needed, so the Tigers are selling them for $25 apiece. Each person or entity that purchases a board will then be recognized in a replica of the floor that will be displayed on one of the walls of the SHS gymnasium. The benefits of installing the floor are too numerous to count, Flaherty said.”There are so many positives,” she said. “The more we talk about it, the more I can think of.” Most importantly, a spring floor is physically less demanding on the gymnast’s body. “From a health perspective, it helps to save the girls’ knees and ankles,” Flaherty said.
A spring floor also allows gymnasts to complete more complex tumbling runs, thereby increasing their overall score. Flaherty has even spoken with coaches at other schools that encourage their gymnasts to work out one routine for a foam floor and another, more aggressive routine for a spring floor. At the 4A state championship meet in Thornton on Nov. 6, two of Flaherty’s gymnasts set personal records and another missed hers by .25 points. Those performances proved critical to the Tigers’ season-high performance of 167.30.The Tigers’ six gymnasts in the event combined for a team score of 44.025, about two points higher than what they normally get on a foam floor. Each of the SHS gymnasts at the state meet credited the springboard floor for their sudden improvement.”You jump higher and bounce higher – it’s almost like a trampoline,” said Lauren Biegler, whose 9.25 floor performance was not only a personal best, it was the highest score of any Tiger in any event all season.Flaherty admitted that a springboard can create some logistical challenges for the high school program, such as how to install the floor, which involves a considerable amount of carpentry. Storage may also be a problem.
But these issues aren’t stopping the coach from pushing forward.”I don’t mind having those problems,” she said. “Because if we get the resources of the floor, the rest of it we can figure out.” Currently, Flaherty believes about 50 boards have sold, but she won’t know for sure until the team turns in its final donations at the team banquet on Friday. If the team does not sell all 110 boards by Friday, Flaherty expects to renew the fundraising efforts when the middle school program begins in the spring. To find out more information, or to contribute, contact Flaherty at (970) 389-8303. Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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