Girls gymnastics starts season strong with help of underclassmen

Junior Diandra Duenser performs her routine during the only home invite of this season vs Conant on Dec. 3.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Cottone

Junior Diandra Duenser performs her routine during the only home invite of this season vs Conant on Dec. 3.

Last season, the girls gymnastics team consisted of only six members;  however, this did not stop them from becoming a competitive force to be reckoned with throughout the season.  The team now returns with a younger but highly–experienced team.

“This season, the team has gained five freshmen who have had experience with the sport,” coach Stephanie Schrader said. “While other teams might see this as a disadvantage, they [the freshman] provide the team with more overall enthusiasm.”

Returning sophomore Isabelle Samson is very optimistic to see what the incoming freshmen will bring to the team. A varsity member her freshman year as well, Samson knows how to relate with her new teammates.

“Our freshmen this year have brought much talent to our varsity and freshman teams,” Samson said. “We are excited to see how this season plays out.”

According to Schrader, Samson has been somewhat of a mentor to the freshmen. She has been very welcoming toward the freshmen and has provided a sense of comfort for them.

While new talent has been added in, the team still depends on returning gymnasts to be successful. Junior Diandra Duenser placed 13th, but only 12 selected to go to State last season. This season, the team looks to Duenser to represent the team through her highly–skilled performance on the mats. Teammates of Duenser believe that she has the best chance of making it to State.

“Diandra is a really strong gymnast who is always shooting for the stars,” Samson said. “We are all rooting for her to hopefully make State this year.”

While the team has supported Duenser throughout her season, it is  mainly focused on  its  performance as a whole. Looking at the team’s competition in the MSL, Prospect seems to be the team that challenges BG the most.

“Prospect over the past years has produced very talented gymnasts, which makes its team challenging to compete with,” Schrader said.

With the difficult competition in the MSL, the team has learned to come together and encourage each other to perform at the highest of their capabilities.

According to junior Sarah Cottone, the team as a whole has been very supportive of each other, allowing the gymnasts to become very close.

“We are all really close, even with the freshmen on the team,” Cottone said. “These relationships make it so easy to cheer for each other and help one another to get over the things we are afraid of.”

Overall, Schrader is looking forward to seeing the young core of freshmen perform.

“We have a bigger team than last year, and a wider array of talent to pull from,” Schrader said. “This group of freshmen is very talented and provides a light for a very bright future.”