Gymnastics season continues into regionals

Freshman Morgan Smith preparing herself for her floor routine at the Hartland Ice House Gymnastics Tri-meet. Her routine scored an 8.6.

PHOTO Kaitlin Gruber

Freshman Morgan Smith preparing herself for her floor routine at the Hartland Ice House Gymnastics Tri-meet. Her routine scored an 8.6.

Devon Mann, Features Editor

Coming off a new record for regular season competition wins, the Fenton-Linden-Lake Fenton gymnastics team continues its prep work for the upcoming regional championships. The team showcased its winning ability over the course of this 2017 season with eight out of nine regular season meet victories and two invitational wins.

“Out of my three years on the gymnastics team, this year has been one of the best for me,” senior Jordan Dawson said. “It has been the most success in competition we’ve ever had and the most fun we’ve had doing it. We’ve found that when we enjoy ourselves on the floor and not let the nerves get the best of u, is when we thrive, and I think that is evident in our 8 out 9 wins in the regular season and our qualification to regionals.”

In addition to qualifying as a team to the regional championships, each gymnast on the team has advanced to the regionals individually on at least one out of the four events.

“Having every girl qualify individually was such a huge accomplishment,” freshman Jaidyn Rogers said. “Succeeding as a team is always our number one priority, but it speaks volumes to the depth of ability we have on our team with each girl being able to qualify on her own.”

The team attributes their success this year to the continual support provided by teammates to one another. Although they come from different schools, the gymnasts have created a team bond which they have found to be essential in competition.

“Team bonding is really special. In certain sports, like gymnastics, you are competing as an individual, but the support you receive from your teammates helps calm you down when you’re nervous,” Rogers said. “As gymnasts, we each have our strengths and weaknesses, but we compliment each other. If one person is weak on one event then there’s another person that is more dominant on that particular event to pick up the slack. As a team, we just try to encourage each other to do our best, regardless of the event we’re competing on or who we’re going up against.”

Upgrades in skill difficulty is another method the team has been using to increase their overall scoring ability. Higher difficulty in routines paired with minimal mistakes in execution allows for a higher score. Amidst injuries and setbacks, sophomore Carly Kozlowski has spent the season working on upgrading her routines in order to score higher for the team.

“Despite being out with a concussion for six weeks I still improved a lot this season,” Kozlowski said. “I really wanted to improve my difficulty on beam and floor in order to contribute more to the team, so that’s where I focused my efforts. I’ve worked hard to get my round-off tuck dismount on beam and my full twist on floor, both of which are new skills for me. Getting these skills were a really big deal for me because sometimes I get scared and have mental blocks when trying to do them.”

The team continues its work in the gym this week leading up to regionals. As the championships approach, the team focuses its energies in putting final touches on their routines to distinguish themselves from fellow competition.

“Going into regionals we’re just trying to put the extra little details into our routines to make ourselves shine,” Dawson said. “Also, were trying to work on our consistency. We all know how to do our routines, so at this point it’s all about staying calm and confident and not letting ourselves get overwhelmed by the competition.”

The varsity gymnastics team competes at the regional championships on Saturday, March 4 at Grand Ledge High School. The competition begins at 10 a.m..