The Gaucho Gazette

Gymnastics: Vaulting to Victory

Annie Gallo and Katie Marr

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Gymnastics is a grueling sport that requires hours of dedication and unending motivation; fortunately, for three gymnasts on campus, those hours of hard work have paid off and resulted in impressive performance at Regionals. Freshmen Kira Lim, Camille Mantoani, and senior Alex Green all exhibited their level nine gym expertise at the Regional meet in Visalia.

The students compete as part of Region 1, which comprises of Northern and Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Oregon. As one of the most competitive regions in the nation, the trio’s accomplishments are all the more astounding. Mantoani and Green both competed well, though Mantoani was forced to reckon with a strained ligament in her hip.

Lim performed exceptionally; her scores at Regionals qualified her for Westerns, which is the culmination of the competitive season. She explains the logistics of the qualifications.

“To qualify for Regionals, you have to get a score of 34 at States. I got a 35.8, so I qualified. Then to go to Westerns, you have to be in the top seven of your age group and I got fifth out of about 300 competitors,” said Lim.

Level nine is one step away from the highest level of Junior Olympic competition, and two steps away from Olympic and World meets. This intensity of competition demands a rigorous practice schedule. Executing complex skills on a four-inch wide surface, flying from one bar to another, and launching off a vault are intimidating in their own right; making them look effortless is exponentially more difficult. Lim spends hours at the gym every day preparing for meets.

“For training, we have to do a lot of routines and a bunch of cardio and strength. It’s about 20 hours a week, so it’s a big time commitment,” said Lim.

There are two types of competitors at Regionals: all-arounds, who compete in all four events (bars, beam, vault, and floor) and specialists. Green is one example of a specialist, an athlete who competes only on specific events. While specialists can’t advance to Westerns, Green finds that there are some advantages that come with focusing on certain areas of competition.

“Regionals went very well for me. Being a specialist, I only compete on floor and vault. During my competition I got a 9.125 on vault and placed eigth. On floor, I got a 9.275 and placed 5th. When you’re a specialist, it’s normally because you were previously injured and can’t get back into things fast enough. A specialist gets to choose what events to compete in, so in my opinion, it’s more fun to be a specialist because you’re not under as much pressure,” said Green.

Pressure is definitely a factor that plays into the high intensity of gymnastics, but even with the extensive hours and travels on the weekends, it is a sport that ultimately reaps benefits for those who participate. Lim reflects on how she believes gymnastics has aided her ability to succeed in other areas of her life.

“Gymnastics teaches you how to deal with all the stress, and how to breathe through and get through tough situations without freaking out,” said Lim.

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Gymnastics: Vaulting to Victory