Summit High gymnasts spring into new season
FARMER’S KORNER – The Summit High School gymnastics team is no stranger to performing under pressure, but last year’s performance will be a tough act to follow.
And the team is up for the challenge.
Last year marked the first season SHS qualified as a team to compete in the Colorado State High School Gymnastics Meet, and the team went on to narrowly miss the state podium, finishing fourth by less than one-tenth of a point.
“We’re already further on our first day this year than we were on our first day last year as far as skills go,” said SHS head coach Beth Flaherty of practice, which began Monday. “Our goal is to go out and improve at every meet.”
The team has 15 members this season, five of which are commuting from Eagle County, as Battle Mountain High School does not have a gymnastics team.
The girls are permitted to compete for SHS by virtue of Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) regulations.
Most of the team began practice early by attending the Peak 10 Gymnastics Camp at Summit High last week.
“They didn’t have to be there,” Flaherty pointed out. “That alone says a lot to the commitment and dedication the girls have. None of the kids are coming out never having done gymnastics before. Some of the kids went to a camp over the summer, some competed in the Colorado rec league. We have a really solid group.”
This season will mark Flaherty’s third as head coach and she will be assisted by Summit Middle School gymnastics program director Betty Koenig and Vail Recreation Center coach Chris Weber. Senior Claudia Bouvier from Vail and SHS junior Robin Lewarton will serve as team captains.
“I think we’ll be able to do as well as we did last year,” said Lewarton, who was one of the varsity squad’s top floor competitors last year. “I worked out a little at a camp at the Breckenridge Recreation Center, and everyone’s been practicing. I think we’ll have a good season.”
Lewarton said she hopes to improve on her vault, and will eventually work up to a full-off (a front handspring that ends in a full twist) and wants to become a well-rounded gymnast in beam, bars, vault and floor by the end of the season.
As for her role as captain, she said she plans to lead her fellow gymnasts into competing cohesively for team points.
“Even though you’re doing your own thing, you know when you’re on the floor that your score matters for the team,” she said. “Last year, it paid off when we went to state as a team. It’s fun to compete that way and try to beat school records.”
The team will practice from 9 a.m. to noon all this week, then go to a 3-6 p.m. schedule. The first meet is scheduled for Aug. 30.
“I’m really excited for this season,” Flaherty said. “One of my goals is to promote teamwork. Gymnastics is often viewed as an individual sport, but ultimately, the focus on the team is how girls can accomplish the best results for themselves.”
Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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