IHS gymnastics tumbles to victory
February 3, 2016
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By Michelle Huang | Staff Writer
Gymnastics overcame tremendous logistical difficulties to have a fantastic season, winning every single meet and capturing the NCS title.
Irvington’s gymnasts dominated in their meets against Logan, Mission, and Washington. Gymnasts compete across up to four different apparatuses, performing routines on the beam, uneven bars, vault, and the floor; they receive an individual score for each routine. Thus, team scores are calculated by adding up the top four scores for each apparatus. Varsity/Varsity Elite put up combined scores of 134.85 against Logan’s score of 75.75, 141.85 against Washington’s 129.7, and 143.35 against Mission’s 142.55. Irvington’s JV gymnasts also triumphed in the meet against Logan, where they scored a cumulative 38.60 against Logan’s score of 31.75.
“Mission is always our biggest rivalry. They always have a big team with higher-level gymnasts. Beating Mission is a great accomplishment and we pride ourselves in taking first,” said co-captain senior Kaela Takei.
Team scores aren’t calculated at MVALs due to the size of the tournament, but the spotlight still shone on individual gymnasts and Irvington put up a strong fight. In the Varsity Elite division, sophomore Claire Stastka, sophomore Annie Tsang, and senior Kaela Takei placed third, fifth, and sixth respectively in the All-Around. Sophomore Maryum Haidari placed 15th in the Varsity All-Around, and freshman Jessica Li placed sixth in the JV All-Around.
“It was a good season. Definitely not as big of a team as last year, but we had a lot of fun. Even injured girls were fighting through it,” said co-captain senior Mikhayla Kennison. “We do have a lot of trouble, but it’s all we have for all four of the schools, so we make it work.”
Irvington’s success did not come without hardship. After its previous coach resigned right before the season began, the team struggled to compete until Vanessa Kennison steppedin to coach. As a result, the team had a late start, so recruitment was lower than anticipated. In addition, Irvington shares Washington’s gym with other schools, but the outdated equipment there makes it difficult to practice more challenging routines. Gymnastics also had difficulty accessing the gym because Washington’s wrestling team needed it for practices.
Overall, Irvington’s gymnasts can look back on the season with pride.
“Despite all the setbacks, we pulled through and competed some really amazing routines. A majority of our returning girls competed so well they were able to score higher than they did last year. I’m very proud of us as a team overall. I wouldn’t want to spend my last year of gymnastics any other way,” said Takei.