Karen Rivera also contributed to this article.
Malden High school’s Varsity Gymnastics team has entered the winter season with high hopes.
Head Coach, Katie Bowdridge, stated that their goals for this season was to “improve [their] individual and team scores in each meet” as well as to “continue to add more difficult skills to the routines.” Bowdridge noted that though they have this as their goal every year, this year is different because they have many new gymnasts that are new to the sport. Since they have an abundant amount of gymnasts who are new to competing in gymnastics, they had to start the season with the basics before creating a routine which makes it “more difficult and it gives everyone less time to learn them.”
In fact going “back to basics” was something that she had done differently this year due to the experience level. “[They] do a lot more group drills and skills instead of individual progressions as [they] have in the past.”
For team goals this season, Bowdridge said that they had set a goal of reaching a team score of 80 in their first meet, which they gladly achieved. In their second meet they had reached a team score of 98 which was a “huge improvement.” “By the end of the season, [she] would like to see [them] hitting over 100 solidly.” She would also like to see everyone “improve their individual scores and add more difficulty to their routines.”
Junior co-captain Ronald Batista, who is in his second year on the team, stated his goals for the season as well saying that he wishes that “[they] are able to win [their] league meet this year,” considering that it is the most important meet they have in the whole season, “it would be amazing if [they] won!”
Junior co-caption Brianna Preston, who also is in her second year on the team, had a similar goal for the team as well, saying that “[she] hopes the team and [her] can try [their] best to become the GBL champs.” Further saying that it “would mean a lot to the team” since they try “so hard” and that it would be “great pay off, to see it happen.”
Batista has also set goals for himself as his role on the team has changed, mentioning that his goal is to also be a good captain. Saying that he is trying to be helpful inside the gymnastics room but also “welcoming and approachable to everyone on the team.”
Batista also expressed that his hopes and goals for the season is to learn as many new skills as possible as he “took on a new event which is floor so [he is] looking forward to perfecting [his] routine!”
Bowdridge also talked about the atmosphere they have created, stating that “everyone is helping each other achieve new things.” “ At any given time, you will see [the team] working together and encouraging each other to try new skills or completing the skills they are working on.”
This season the team has lost seven gymnasts from the previous year and five graduating seniors. Six out of the seven gymnasts were varsity members and competed at least one event “which is a huge loss.” Though [they have] been “very lucky with the kids [they] have this year because everyone has been working very hard and they have come so far in a short period of time.”
A common goal found between both captains was putting their team first, leading them to success, and having a fun season both in and out of the gym. For Batista, he hopes to do all of this by “having more team bonding experiences. [He] loves the team and just wants a chance for [them] all to be together having a good time outside of the gym.” For Preston, she hopes “to become really close with the team and have a tight connection with [them].”
Preston further went on to say that she is more focused on having a good time and not about being the best. And that it would “mean the most to [her]” if they can make the sport fun and enjoyable.
The first meet of the season was against Winthrop High on January 3rd, 2020. Bowdridge noted that Winthrop’s team and parents “were very supportive and encouraging while [they] were competing,” making it “easier for all of [their] kids that have never competed before.”
Bowdridge ended with saying that “as coaches, [they] are so proud of our team and the atmosphere they are creating in the gym.” For a coach, “having a team that is hard working and supportive makes for a great season.”