Photo of the 2016-2017 Gymnastics Season. Photo from The Blue and Gold archives.

Malden High’s Gymnastics team has begun its 2017-2018 season. New members have already been practicing with the older members, and everyone is excited. Sophomore Kelly Zhou, who joined the team as a freshman, said that this year, the “team completely expanded, almost tripled the amount of people [they] had last year” and “[she is] really excited about that”. Zhou added that the new members of the Gymnastics team are “all very adorable”, and she admires how the new members are not afraid to “step out of [their] comfort zone and try new things during practice”. She added further that they “[are not] afraid to help each other, have fun, fall or laugh around and [they are] very hardworking”. Senior Thays Almeida asserted that the team is excited for the new members joining the team this year, “especially since [the team is] looking forward to expanding the program. Currently, [they] have a lot of seniors and so the new members will not only help this year but the years to come as well.” Almeida said.

Last year’s season was “amazing”, as Almeida described it, due to the fact that the team won their last Greater Boston League (GBL) title before moving onto a new league. “The overall chemistry of the team was also good which helped [them] a lot”, Almeida added. For Zhou, she admitted that she was “very nervous and uncomfortable” when it came to making mistakes, due to the fact that “[she] was afraid to be embarrassed and [she] felt like [she] wasn't as good as [her] teammates”. It all worked out in the end, since “[her] teammates were very nice and [they] made [her] feel appreciated even though [she] fell and messed up”.

This year, the team expects to win as much as possible, even though they are in a new league. Zhou said the team also expects to “help each and every one [on the team] improve in skill, communication and as well as being comfortable with each other and making new friends”. Almeida stated that the team hopes to improve on their gymnastics skills and “step out of our comfort zones because gymnastics is a hard sport and it does take time to adjust and be comfortable”.

This year, the team also has a new coach, coach Katie Bowdridge, and they already adjusted. Zhou said that the new coach, Coach B, is “super supportive” and “[Bowdridge’s] smile makes [Zhou] feel accomplished and that [she did] well”. Although the team is going strong, they still have room for improvement, even as individuals. Zhou said that she “definitely needs to improve in not being nervous and scared about falling or being embarrassed because that is part of learning and growing as a person and as a gymnast”. Relating back to the new members, Zhou said that “seeing the new members this year makes [her] feel very nostalgic and [she] is really proud of them for being out on the floor and tumbling and falling while having fun at the same time”. She believes the team’s main strength is that they are all committed and “strive for success, while being supportive of everyone”.

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